China & India's “common interests far outweigh differences”, says Wang Yi


China and India’s “common interests far outweigh differences”, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has said, adding that the two countries should put the differences on the border in its appropriate place and seek to resolve the dispute through dialogue and consultation.

The two countries should support rather than undermine each other and enhance trust rather than be suspicious, Wang said in his first meeting with ambassador Pradeep Kumar Rawat, who became India’s envoy to China in March, in Beijing on Wednesday.

Wang said the two sides “should meet each other halfway to push bilateral relations back onto the track of stable and healthy development at an early date…”

Wang’s meeting with Rawat ahead of the 14th Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit - which is being hosted online by Beijing - appears to be China’s attempt to convey a sense of solidarity within the group despite serious Sino-India bilateral differences.

“China and India’s common interests far outweigh their differences, adding that the two sides should support rather than undermine each other, strengthen cooperation rather than guard against each other, and enhance mutual trust rather than be suspicious of each other,” Wang was quoted as telling Rawat, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement on the meeting.

Wang, who is also a state councillor, put forward a four-point agenda to define and take forward ties with India, going through its worst chill in the backdrop of the dragging military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, which began in May, 2020.

More than 24 months later, military deployment continues on both sides of the LAC in eastern Ladakh despite several rounds of diplomatic talks and negotiations between the armed forces.

The four principles Wang mentioned included the requirement to follow the “important strategic consensus” reached by the top leadership of the two countries that “China and India are not competitors, but partners; and China and India will not pose threats to each other and are mutual development opportunities”, the statement said.

“We should place the border issue at an appropriate position in bilateral relations and seek solutions through dialogue and consultation,” according to Wang is the second principle to be followed.

The remaining two principles were the need to expand “mutually beneficial cooperation” and to “expand multilateral cooperation” and “jointly cope with the “complex world situation”.

Wang said India’s tradition of independent foreign policy was reflected in a recent speech by external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, where he had expressed his disapproval of “Eurocentrism” and his hope that no external forces should interfere in China-India relations.

Wang was referring to Jaishankar’s June 3 speech at the GLOBESEC 2022 Bratislava Forum where he said the world could no longer be “Eurocentric”, and that Europe needed to shun that mindset in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“A lot is happening outside Europe. There are so many human and natural disasters in our part of the world, and many countries look to India for help. The world is changing and new players are coming in. The world can’t be Eurocentric anymore,” Jaishankar had added in his speech, which was widely talked about and shared in Chinese official media and online.

Indian ambassador Rawat, according to the statement, said: India will firmly pursue an independent foreign policy, and is willing to work with China to adhere to the strategic consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen communication, properly handle differences, enhance mutual trust, and keep advancing bilateral cooperation.”

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)