Just a week after the two Asian neighbours ended a tense standoff in Doklam, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to maintain cordial bilateral ties and to ensure regional peace.
The Indian premier, who arrived in China for the 9th BRICS Summit on Sunday evening, held talks with the Chinese president on the sidelines of the event on Tuesday. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement the two leaders reaffirmed that good relations are in the interest of both New Delhi and Beijing. According to the statement, Xi and Modi further agreed to strengthen co-operation between defence personnel of the two countries in order to avoid a repeat of the border row.
Indian Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who was accompanying the PM in China, said that the two leaders decided to take necessary steps to avoid boundary disputes as peace in border regions was vital to a positive relationship. “One of the important points made during the meeting was that peace and tranquillity on the border areas was a prerequisite for the further development of our relationship,” he told the Chinese media.
The seasoned Indian diplomat said that although President Xi and PM Modi didn’t specifically mention Doklam, they emphasised on enhancing and strengthening mutual trust. “It is natural that between neighbours and large powers, there would be areas of difference. But where there is an area of difference, it should be handled with mutual respect and efforts should be made to find common ground,” he added.
Meanwhile, Modi left for Myanmar immediately after holding talks with the Chinese president in the south-eastern port city of Xiamen. “We held fruitful talks on bilateral relations,” the PM tweeted before leaving China.
This is the Indian prime minister’s first bilateral visit to Myanmar and the two countries are scheduled to sign a number of agreements. According to sources close to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, PM Modi is scheduled to discuss some key issues, including the fate of the Royingya community and economic projects, with the top Myanmarese leadership on Wednesday.
However, some analysts opine that it may be too little too late for India, as China has already established ‘friendly’ ties with the south-east Asian country. In 2016, a Chinese think-tank said that India was “cozying up” to Myanmar only because it was threatened by the growing strategic ties between China and Myanmar.