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High hopes to soothe dragon on Doklam

High hopes to soothe dragon   on Doklam

Amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam at the tri-junction with Bhutan, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and held talks this Thursday. This talk, Beijing said, included 'major problems' and 'regional issues', signalling that the stand-off in Doklam between Chinese and Indian troops in the Sikkim sector was likely to have been on the agenda. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the BRICS security summit in Beijing, where Doval and Yang are special representatives of the India-China border mechanism. As per the reports of Xinhua news agency, Yang also separately exchanged views with the three senior representatives on bilateral relations, international and regional issues and multilateral affairs, setting forth China's position on bilateral issues and major problems. On the other hand, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, speaking in the Rajya Sabha, highlighted the agreement reached in June in Astana between the countries, to intensify 'development partnership' and 'people-to-people contact'. Responding to a question about China's recent denial of visa to a group of journalists to Tibet and the remedial measures being taken to defuse the Doklam stand-off, Akbar said that the two countries had agreed to work together. "When Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping met in Astana, a closer development partnership was discussed and both the countries agreed that we will intensify our people-to-people contacts and do whatever is necessary to bring both countries closer," he said. Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj also said that despite the commitment to improve bilateral ties, India had not hesitated to protest whenever differences arose with China about issues like stapled visas for Indian citizens from Arunachal or the visit of Dalai Lama to Tawang. Maintaining that India remained open to Chinese companies, she said, "There is no policy to deny China's business opportunities." The statement about closer developmental partnership was also corroborated by an MEA official, who termed bilateral ties between the two countries as a 'factor of stability' especially with the 'Astana consensus' on June 9, during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese President, in Kazakhstan's capital where both sides had agreed to resolve disputes through negotiations. Referring to the 40-minute meeting on June 9, Gopal Baglay, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said, "Our approach is to resolve disputes in a peaceful manner through discussions. There are established mechanisms to address the border issue. As far as the current situation goes, we have again said that we have pointed to the Astana consensus between President Xi Jinping and PM Modi. The first component (of the Astana consensus) is that relations are significant and the two countries are factors of stability. And the second component is that differences between India and China should be handled or addressed in such a manner that they do not become disputes. That remains our approach." It may be noted that in Astana, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had said that both the countries understand their differences and these differences would not become disputes. "In fact, if handled properly, differences can even become opportunities. The sense of the meeting was that the two countries have a great interest in working with each other and there are chances that we will have differences. Where we have differences, we have to work and find common ground. And wherever we have concerns, each side will approach it with a degree of seriousness," he had said.

On the other hand, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, speaking in the Rajya Sabha, highlighted the agreement reached in June in Astana between the countries, to intensify 'development partnership' and 'people-to-people contact'. Responding to a question about China's recent denial of visa to a group of journalists to Tibet and the remedial measures being taken to defuse the Doklam stand-off, Akbar said that the two countries had agreed to work together. "When Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping met in Astana, a closer development partnership was discussed and both the countries agreed that we will intensify our people-to-people contacts and do whatever is necessary to bring both countries closer," he said. Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj also said that despite the commitment to improve bilateral ties, India had not hesitated to protest whenever differences arose with China about issues like stapled visas for Indian citizens from Arunachal or the visit of Dalai Lama to Tawang. Maintaining that India remained open to Chinese companies, she said, "There is no policy to deny China's business opportunities." The statement about closer developmental partnership was also corroborated by an MEA official, who termed bilateral ties between the two countries as a 'factor of stability' especially with the 'Astana consensus' on June 9, during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese President, in Kazakhstan's capital where both sides had agreed to resolve disputes through negotiations. Referring to the 40-minute meeting on June 9, Gopal Baglay, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said, "Our approach is to resolve disputes in a peaceful manner through discussions. There are established mechanisms to address the border issue. As far as the current situation goes, we have again said that we have pointed to the Astana consensus between President Xi Jinping and PM Modi. The first component (of the Astana consensus) is that relations are significant and the two countries are factors of stability. And the second component is that differences between India and China should be handled or addressed in such a manner that they do not become disputes. That remains our approach." It may be noted that in Astana, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had said that both the countries understand their differences and these differences would not become disputes. "In fact, if handled properly, differences can even become opportunities. The sense of the meeting was that the two countries have a great interest in working with each other and there are chances that we will have differences. Where we have differences, we have to work and find common ground. And wherever we have concerns, each side will approach it with a degree of seriousness," he had said.

Meanwhile, the Union Minister of External Affairs informed the Parliament on Thursday that there was no quid pro quo with China on the issue of 'sufferings' of the Tibetan people and stapled visas being given to Arunachal Pradesh residents by Beijing. While responding to questions in the Rajya Sabha on the issue of stapled visa to Arunachal residents by China, the minister said that the issue had been raised in every bilateral meeting at various levels; about India's stand on Tibet, she said "We used to earlier talk of One China policy, but we used to say that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India. And when we say that, we want China to also recognise this. Our policy has been made very clear." On the issue of Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Tawang, Swaraj categorically said, "We allowed him to do so as it is not the first time but the fifth or sixth time that he is visiting the place." Meanwhile, with the presence of Doval, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, to take part in a two-day meeting of NSAs of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) being hosted by Yang, hopes are high that rising temperatures caused by a tense stand-off with China on the Doklam plateau will come down.

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