New Delhi, Beijing agree maintaining peace vital for growth of bilateral ties

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New Delhi: India and China on Friday agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity on their common borders was vital for the growth of bilateral ties, an Indian government statement said, almost two-and-a-half months after the Asian giants ended a tense military standoff on the Doklam plateau in Bhutan.

The two countries also exchanged views on strengthening military contacts and adding more confidence building measures to reduce friction along their almost 4,000-kilometer-long undemarcated border, the statement said.

The exchanges—which took place in Beijing during the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs— seem to signal a return to normal of bilateral ties strained by the Doklam standoff.

The Indian delegation to the Beijing talks was led by Pranay Verma, joint secretary (East Asia), while the Chinese delegation was led by Xiao Qian, director general, department of Asian affairs in the ministry of foreign Affairs.

The two delegations comprised diplomatic and military officials from each side, the statement said. “The talks were held in a constructive and forward-looking manner. Both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of India-China border and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations. In this regard, the two sides also exchanged views on further confidence building measures and strengthening of military-to-military contacts,” the statement said.

The WMCC was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas. The panel also exchanges views on strengthening communication and cooperation, including between their border security personnel, the statement said.

“The two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the WMCC at a mutually convenient time,” the statement added.

This is one of the first bilateral meetings at the officials’ level after India and China ended the 73-day-old standoff at Doklam, considered their most serious military confrontation in two decades.

Tensions flared in June after Bhutan objected to an attempt by Chinese troops to build a road on the Doklam plateau. Indian troops, stationed in Bhutan under a special security arrangement intervened, triggering the face-off, which ended on 28 August.