BEIJING: India has told China not to “move target posts” or “confuse” border affairs management and the restoration of peace at the borders with the larger issue of border resolution being addressed through various named mechanisms.
Following the stalemate in East Ladakh last May, India has consistently maintained that peace and tranquility in the border areas are essential for the general development of relations between the two countries.
India and China are not only neighbors, but also major emerging economies and “it is not uncommon to have differences and problems,” said the Indian envoy for China, Vikram Misri, when speaking before September 4th, 23rd.
“The key question is how we deal with them and ensure that the results are shaped by adequacy, maturity and respect for maintaining peace and tranquility along our borders,” said Misri.
The virtual meeting was jointly hosted by the School of International Studies at Sichuan University (SCU), the China Center for South Asian Studies and the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyzes (MP-IDSA), where several former envoys and scholars participated.
In addition to Misri, China’s ambassador to India Sun Weidong also attended the meeting.
Referring to the “multilayered dialogue” the two countries have had since last year, including several rounds of talks between the top military officials on both sides and the meetings between Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to resolve the military stalemate in Misri in East Ladakh said: “These contacts have led to considerable progress on the ground”.
“After the withdrawal in the Galwan Valley in July last year, both sides were able to break away from the north and south shores of Lake Pangong in February 2021 and most recently from Gogra in August 2021,” he said.
“The conversation between the two sides about the remaining locations is ongoing and we hope that by decoupling the remaining points of friction, we will reach a point where we can take up the strings of bilateral cooperation,” he said.
“The experience of this complex dialogue over the past year and a half makes me believe that we are well equipped to resolve pressing issues in bilateral relations,” he said.
“Our heads of state and government have agreed in the past that we must solve problems peacefully, prevent differences from turning into disputes and, above all, maintain peace and quiet in our border areas,” he said.
“Recent experience also suggests that when dealing with a difficult bilateral situation on the ground, the search for a solution depends on mature minds, open channels and coherence between words and deeds. But while these are positive elements to fall back on, we need to stay away from certain obstacles that could block progress, “he said.
“The first is to avoid moving goal posts. The Indian and Chinese sides have long held a well-understood distinction between resolving the border issue and managing border affairs, “he said.
“The understanding between our heads of state and government in 1988 aimed precisely at keeping the solution of the border issue on a separate but parallel path to bilateral relations, with the maintenance of peace and quiet as a prerequisite,” he said.
The special envoy mechanism, the 2005 agreement on political parameters and guiding principles and the three-phase framework were all designed to work on the border issue, “which, once we have agreed, is a complex and sensitive issue that will take time,” said Misri.
“That is the reason for the tense situation along the borders. We advocate that we should address the border issue through peaceful negotiation, and we do not think that the border issue should be linked to our bilateral relations, ”he said.
But at the same time the two countries had developed a mechanism for the day-to-day management of border affairs, consisting of “instruments such as the WMCC (Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs) and a number of agreements, protocols and VBMs to regulate behavior to regulate locally and to ensure peace and quiet ”.
“A serious violation of peace and tranquility in the border areas naturally requires that we work to resolve it on the basis of established agreements, protocols and mechanisms. Any attempt to confuse border issues with border issues is a disservice to the solution work of those involved, ”he said.
For this reason, the Indian side has repeatedly emphasized that the current issue is about restoring peace and quiet in the border areas and not about solving the larger border issue, on which India’s position has not changed despite the events of last year Has. he said.
The border dispute between India and China affects the 3,488 km Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, which India firmly rejects.
Misri also said China should not look at mutual concerns and sensitivities unilaterally.
“The second obstacle is looking at concerns and sensitivities one-sided, where your worries trump any reported by the other side,” he said.
“As EAM (Foreign Minister) Dr. S. Jaishankar said India-China relations must be based on the three mutuals – mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests, “he said.
“In an international community in which we interact on an equal footing and as important neighbors, it cannot be that only the concerns of one side are relevant while the case of the other side remains unheard,” he said.
Preserving territorial integrity and national security is of equal value to both sides. Placing the blame solely on the other side is not a helpful approach, he said.
“And pushing your own concerns and disregarding the other side’s concerns and sensitivities without explanation or recourse is beyond disrespect. It creates even more barriers to finding solutions,” he added.
“The third obstacle is to look at bilateral relations through the prism of relations with other countries. We are two ancient civilizations and two modern Asian nations that have developed their own independent foreign policies and value their own strategic autonomy, ”he said.
“For India, I would say that a political approach that took effect over six decades ago is still relevant today. India formulates its national and foreign policy primarily on the basis of national interests, “said Misri.
“We believe in multilateralism, but we are also convinced that it needs to be reformed in order to make its fruits better available to all stakeholders,” he said.
Both countries had important global dialogues while pursuing their goals in several smaller forums whose members had common interests, he said.
“Many of these forums include China – the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and RIC (Russia, India, China) are some examples, and these dialogues were also held during the difficult period who are going through our bilateral relations, “said Misri.
“Relations between India and China must therefore be judged and managed on their own merits. They are substantial enough and complex enough that they require their own approach and proper handling without being further complicated by imaginary third factors and distracting us from working on our priorities, “he said.
The two nations need to focus on the real problems they are facing and adopt a “sensitive and constructive approach to problem-solving” while respecting each other’s essential decision-making autonomy, he said.
“Approaching and processing differences correctly means facing them directly and not sweeping them under the carpet. This approach will allow us to do what is necessary to put relationships on healthier paths, “he said.
“I am still convinced that we can solve our current difficulties without the result necessarily seeming to be a win or a loss for both sides. A win-win solution for both India and China is very possible and we remain determined to pursue it, “he said.