Chinese defense minister urges to bring China-India border situation under normalized management in meeting with Indian defense chief
Published: Apr 28, 2023 02:12 PM Updated: Apr 28, 2023 07:13 PM
China India Photo:VCG

China India Photo:VCG

When meeting with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu said that the China-Indian border situation remains stable, and border issue should be properly managed within bilateral ties.

With contact and negotiations between two armies gradually resuming, experts called on India to reduce provocative statements, and meet with China halfway to solve the border issues, so as to inject peace and stability into bilateral ties, and support regional stability.

Li, who arrived in New Dehli on Thursday for the SCO defense ministers' meeting on Friday, held a meeting with Singh. Li said that common interest between China and India prevails over discrepancies, thus both sides should view bilateral ties and their development in a comprehensive, long-term and strategic way. He said two countries should bring the border situation under normalized management and to jointly enhance mutual trust between the two armies, according to a readout published by China's Ministry of National Defense on Friday.

However, a summary of the meeting published by India's defense ministry was strongly-worded and appear provocative. India media PTI quoted the ministry's statement as saying that Singh said "that all issues at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments."

Singh reiterated that violation of existing agreements has "eroded" the entire basis of bilateral relations and disengagement at the border will logically be followed with de-escalation, according to the Indian statement.

It has been almost three years since the start of the China-India border standoff.

Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that India constantly uses provocative and inflammatory statements on border issues with China, partly to portray itself as a victim on the international stage; and partly to cater to domestic anti-China hawks.

"But the statement claiming that China violated existing agreement is totally baseless as it is clear who is responsible for the border standoff and the responsibility is not on China," Qian said.

The defense ministers' meeting took place as defense ministers from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation gathered in India to discuss regional peace and counter-terrorism.

It is the first time India has hosted the SCO annual summit since it gained membership in 2017.

The Indian defense ministry's provocative remarks will likely cause a fractious atmosphere throughout the SCO' defense minister's meeting and may undermine cooperation, Qian said, noting such cooperation is of vital importance for regional stability amid a volatile  international atmosphere.

Shortly before the SCO meeting, China and India held the 18th round of Corps Commander Level Meeting on Sunday, in which the two sides had a friendly and candid exchange of views on relevant issues and agreed to maintain close contact and dialogue through military and diplomatic channels, speed up the settlement of relevant issues on the western section of the China-India boundary.

Chinese and Indian armies are gradually resuming contact and negation after  communication has been disrupted by COVID-19, the border stand off and other issues. Thus, is it important for both sides to overcome differences, enhance mutual trust, instead of twisting words and hyping rhetoric, experts said.