India, China put behind Dokalam, move ahead
Xiamen: Putting behind the Dokalam standoff, India and China on Tuesday agreed on a "forward-looking" approach in their ties and make more efforts, including strong cooperation between their security personnel, to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
In their first substantive meeting post the 73-day Dokalam face-off, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held "constructive" talks during which it was reaffirmed that maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas was a pre-requisite for the development of India-China relations.
"Met President Xi Jinping. We held fruitful talks on bilateral relations between India and China," Modi tweeted after his talks with Xi.
The prime minister met the Chinese leader for more than an hour during which they also talked about inter-governmental mechanisms such as a joint economic group, security group and strategic group which could help both countries move forward, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters after the meeting.
Asked if both the countries have left behind the Dokalam episode, he said, "It was a forward-looking conversation...and not a backward-looking one."
The two leaders also emphasised on the need to make efforts to enhance and strengthen the mutual trust between the two sides, he said, adding that it was felt that "the security and defence personnel must maintain strong contacts and cooperation and ensure that the situation which happened recently does not recur."
He said it was natural between two neighbours or large powers to have differences but they should be handled with mutual respect and efforts should be made to find common ground in addressing them.
Jaishankar said there was a reaffirmation of the Astana spirit that the two sides will not allow differences to become disputes.
There was a very strong affirmation at the leadership level that it is in the interest of both the countries to keep this relationship on an upward trajectory, the foreign secretary said.
In his initial remarks during the meeting, Modi congratulated Xi on hosting a "very successful" BRICS Summit, saying that the conference was a success in making the grouping more relevant in a fast-changing world.
The Modi-Xi meeting came amid diplomatic efforts by the two sides to overcome the bitterness caused by the face-off between their troops in the Dokalam area of the Sikkim sector.
The Chinese and the Indian troops were engaged in a standoff since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army.