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China keen to develop stable relations with India, says Chinese FM Wang Yi

China and India maintain communication through diplomatic and military channels and are committed to maintaining a stable border situation, the minister said
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 25 December 2022, 17:21 IST
Last Updated : 25 December 2022, 17:21 IST
Last Updated : 25 December 2022, 17:21 IST
Last Updated : 25 December 2022, 17:21 IST

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Beijing is keen to develop stable relations with New Delhi, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday, even as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s recent incursion bid in Arunachal Pradesh indicated that the country was in no mood to pause its belligerence.

“China and India maintain communication through diplomatic and military channels and are committed to maintaining a stable border situation between the two countries,” Wang said in Beijing. He was delivering a speech on China’s diplomacy in 2022 at a symposium.

His comment came about a fortnight after the Indian Army soldiers foiled an attempt by the PLA to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto boundary between the two nations – at Yangtse near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

The scuffle resulted in injuries to a few personnel on both sides.

The PLA’s incursion bid across the eastern sector of the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh came even as the two-and-a-half-year-long military stand-off caused by its similar aggressive moves across the disputed boundary in the western sector in Ladakh could not be completely resolved yet, despite mutual withdrawal of troops from some of the face-off points.

“We are willing to work with India to promote the stable and healthy development of China-India relations,” the Chinese Foreign Minister said on Sunday.

Beijing has of late been claiming that the mutual withdrawal of troops by the Chinese PLA and the Indian Army from Patrolling Point 15 (Gogra-Hotsprings area) last month marked the restoration of normalcy along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. China’s claim appears to be an attempt to subtly build up pressure on India to accept the “new normal” in Depsang and Demchok areas where the Chinese PLA continues to block the Indian Army’s access to several patrolling points along the LAC.

New Delhi, however, has rejected the claim, stating that more issues are still left to be resolved and more steps are still needed to be taken to restore normalcy along the de-facto boundary between the two nations. External Affairs Minster S Jaishankar on December 12 told the Rajya Sabha that India’s relationship with China could not be normal as long as the neighbouring country would continue with its military build-up along the disputed boundary between the two nations.

The relations between New Delhi and Beijing hit a new low over the past two-and-a-half years after the Indian and Chinese soldiers engaged in a stand-off in multiple locations along the LAC in eastern Ladakh in April-May 2020. The stand-off reached a flashpoint on June 15, 2020, when the soldiers of the two sides had a violent face-off in Galwan Valley. The Indian Army lost 20 of its soldiers. The Chinese PLA several months later admitted that four soldiers of the Chinese PLA were also killed in the clash.

The disengagement of troops at the PP 15 on September 8-12 this year followed similar mutual withdrawal of troops in Galwan Valley in July 2020, in northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso in February 2021 and in Gogra Post in August 2021.

The PLA troops deployed in Depsang, well inside the territory of India along the LAC with China, are still continuing to block the Indian Army’s access to Patrolling Points 10, 11, 12, 12A and 13. A face-off is also continuing in Demchok.

China’s continuing military build-up along the entire stretch of its disputed boundary with India, particularly its recent incursion bid in Arunachal Pradesh fuelled speculation in New Delhi about the possibility of Xi Jinping’s “Middle Kingdom” escalating tension along the middle and the eastern sector of the LAC too.

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Published 25 December 2022, 12:21 IST

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