Gen Rawat's comments 'unconstructive': China
Beijing: China on Monday criticised Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat for his recent comments, saying they were "unconstructive" and went against the consensus reached by leaders of both nations to bring ties back on track and preserve peace on the border.
The Chinese reaction came following comments by Gen Rawat two days ago that India needs to shift focus from its border with Pakistan to that of China and spoke of pressure being exerted by Beijing along the Line of Actual Control.
"Last year, India-China relations have witnessed some twists and turns but Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting last September reached a consensus to bring the ties back on track," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said here. Lu also said recent efforts by both countries to enhance dialogue on consultation have shown sound momentum of improvement and development.
"Under such background, the unconstructive remarks by the Indian senior official (Rawat) not only go against the consensus reached by the two heads of state but also do not conform to the efforts made by the two sides to improve and develop bilateral relations," Lu said.
The remarks "cannot help to preserve tranquillity and peace at the border areas," he said.
"China and India are important neighbours. They are both at a critical stage of the national development and rejuvenation. The two countries should enhance strategic communication and eliminate strategic doubt and conduct strategic cooperation," he said.
"We urge the Indian side to follow through on the important consensus of the two leaders to do more things to preserve peace and stability on the border areas and refrain from doing things which may complicate the situation, constructively handle the relevant affairs and promote steady development of bilateral relations.
"This serves the common interest of the whole region and the interest of the Indian side," he said.
Asked what were Gen Rawat's specific comments that China is taking exception to, Lu pointed to the Army chief's comments on Dokalam.
"I have made myself clear, if the senior official according to the report referred to Donglang - I think you are clear about our position - Donglang belongs to China and has always been in the effective jurisdiction of China," he said.
About Gen Rawat's comments that China is exerting pressure on India along the LAC, he said "if he refers to the situation on the whole India-China boundary, I have also said that last September the two heads of state have reached important consensus during the Xiamen (BRICS) summit".
"Both sides have maintained effective communication since then. The aim is to enhance strategic mutual trust and create enabling atmosphere for strategic communication. Recently bilateral relations have shown positive momentum," he said referring to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to India in December followed by the 20th round of border talks between India and China, led by NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi.
"On such background, the official mentioned by you made such kind of remarks that go against the consensus of the states and do not conform to the general trend of improvement of bilateral relations. We believe such kinds of remarks are not conducive to maintaining peace and tranquillity in border areas," he said.