The future of the India-China relationship will depend on “mutual sensitivity” to each other’s core concerns, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday (August 12) as he underlined the need to “exploit” the positive outcomes of the Wuhan Summit to take bilateral ties to a new level and build strong public support in both societies.
Addressing the members of Indian and Chinese delegations for the second meeting of the India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges here, Jaishankar said that he had positive meetings with the Chinese leadership on bilateral and international issues of common concern.
With Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, he said that he discussed the evolving global situation and the larger re-balancing that reflects the rise of India and China as two large developing countries. He also said that he had detailed and productive discussions with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
“We discussed the full gamut of issues relating to views on the international situation, regional aspects and our very important bilateral relations,” Jaishankar, who is here on a three day official visit, said.
“Our discussions today were especially significant as we prepare for President Xi Jinping’s visit to India for the 2nd Informal Summit later this year and celebrating the 70th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations next year,” Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to China, said at the meeting held at the Diaoyutai State Guest House.
He said that the Wuhan Summit between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi in the Chinese city of Wuhan in April last year has opened up a world of new convergences. Prime Minister Modi has invited President Xi for the 2nd informal summit in India.
“Exploiting this and taking our ties to a new level will require strong public support in both societies. The media can make a major contribution to that goal,” he said. He emphasised that the “future of the India-China relationship will obviously depend on mutual sensitivity to each other’s core concerns.”
“It is natural, both as neighbours and large developing economies that there would be issues in our ties. Properly managing differences is therefore vital,” the minister said in the presence of his Chinese counterpart, Wang.
As the leaders agreed in Astana, Kazakhstan, differences between the two countries should not become disputes. That is how India-China relations can remain a factor of stability in an uncertain world, he said.
He said that the first Informal Summit between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi was a historic meeting that has provided a positive direction to India-China relations. There is mutual agreement that, as two of the largest and fastest growing developing countries, representing almost one third of the global population, stable and balanced development of our relations will not only be beneficial for our people, but also a factor of stability in this uncertain global environment.
“Our two countries have similar goals in terms of providing better opportunities for our peoples,” he said.
Since the Wuhan Summit, there has been progress in overall relationship. The two countries agree that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in border areas is essential for smooth development of our relations.
For this, the two armed forces have enhanced communication and are implementing various confidence-building measures, he said. The two top leaders met after a 73-day standoff at Doklam between the militaries of the two countries in 2017.
The India-China economic relationship too has seen “some progress,” Jaishankar said. The bilateral trade has increased but so has our deficit, which is a matter of some concern.
“We appreciate the steps taken in the last few months by the Chinese side to enhance imports from India. These efforts could expand to include measures to enable greater access for our pharmaceutical and IT products and services in the domestic Chinese market,” he said.