A day after Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh blamed Beijing for having ‘eroded the entire basis of India China bilateral relations’ by its actions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Beijing on Friday issued a statement attempting to delink the LAC Standoff and border issues from other bilateral relations.
A statement posted on the Chinese Defence Ministry website described the yesterday’s meeting between Rajnath Singh and General Li Shangfu at New Delhi.
Without wanting to commit itself on resolving the three-year-old standoff at the LAC, the Chinese statement said, “The two sides should take a long-term view, place the border issue in an appropriate position in bilateral relations, and promote the transition of the border situation to normalised management”.
Clearly making an attempt to delink the LAC stand off from other matters, the Chinese statement quoted Gen Li as having said, “As major neighbouring countries and important developing countries, China and India share far more common interests than differences.”
India has conveyed that resolution of LAC standoff is a pre-requisite to anything else. Rajnath Singh had on Thursday categorically conveyed “development of relations between India and China is premised on prevalence of peace and tranquillity at the borders”, adding that, “All issues at the LAC need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments. Violation of existing agreements has eroded the entire basis of bilateral relations”.
The two sides should view bilateral relations and each other’s development from a comprehensive, long-term and strategic perspective, and jointly contribute wisdom and strength to world and regional peace and stability, it added.
On the LAC, the Chinese statement on Friday said: “Gen. Li pointed out that currently, the situation on China-India border is generally stable and the two sides have maintained communication through military and diplomatic channels”.
The Chinese statement added: “It is hoped that the two sides will work together to continuously enhance mutual trust between the two militaries and make proper contributions to the development of bilateral relations.”
This is the first visit by a Chinese Defence Minister to India after the armies of the two countries have been locked since April 2020 in a stand-off along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
General Li is here for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers meeting.