As India’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval will arrive in Beijing on Tuesday, the Chinese authorities have issued a statement, saying that the situation along the Sino-Indian border is stable. In a separate statement, the Chinese Defence Ministry said that the two neighbouring Asian countries had “properly” dealt with the dispute.
Beijing issued the statement immediately after a senior Indian External Affairs Ministry official announced in New Delhi on Sunday that Doval would hold an informal discussion on boundary issues with Chinese leaders. According to the official, Doval is fully prepared for the visit, as New Delhi knows that Beijing will voice its concerns over a more assertive position taken by India on the South China Sea disputes. As per his itinerary, the Indian NSA will hold separate meetings with his Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.
Beijing had expressed its reservations before the Indian authorities when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe mentioned the dispute in a joint statement after their meeting in New Delhi in the second week of December. In the joint statement, India called for freedom of navigation and overflight in South China Sea, emphasising the importance of the settlement of the dispute through peaceful negotiations. India also asked China to respect the 2002 Declaration of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Prime Minister Modi irked China by mentioning the dispute in bilateral documents with Japan, a country that is not directly involved in the South China Sea dispute. However, the Indian officials explained that the two countries are concerned over the situation in the South China Sea, as (like India) a lot of Japan’s sea borne trade passes through the region.
Meanwhile, senior spokesperson of the Chinese Defence Ministry Colonel Yang Yujun said: “This year, the border troops have maintained close exchange and through the institutionalised channels, the border defence troops of the two sides have kept in contact with each other and dealt with differences properly.” “In general, the situation along the China-India border is stable,” he added.
Colonel Yang also assured India that his country is ready to work together with the India in order to implement the consensus reached New Delhi and Beijing and to observe the agreement signed between the two sides in border defence for jointly maintaining peace and stability in the border region.