China today said that the Dokalam standoff posed a “major test” for the bilateral ties and lessons should be learnt from it to avoid a similar situation of its kind in the future.
The comment came ahead of the 20th round of India-China border talks which are expected to be held this week in New Delhi between National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi who are designated Special Representatives.
Though the talks are scheduled for December 22, an official announcement has not been made yet from both sides.
The two sides attach significance to this round of talks as it would be the first round of talks since the 73-day Dokalam standoff in the Sikkim section which ended on August 28.
“This Special Representative meeting is not only a high- level channel for the border issue discussion but also the platform for strategic communication,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here today.
This also allows the two sides to exchange views on the international and regional issues of major concern, she said.
“In 2017, China-India relations have maintained a good momentum generally but the Dokalam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said.
“We should follow our historical conventions on the border to uphold the tranquillity and peace in the border region as well as safeguard the larger picture of the India- China relations,” she said, adding that is in the best of both the countries.
Asked about the Dokalam standoff’s impact on the talks, Hua said the issue also figured in the recent visit of Foreign Minister Wang Yi to New Delhi to take part in the foreign ministers’ meeting of Russia, India, China (RIC).
On its sidelines, Wang also held talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and President Ram Nath Kovind.
Wang in his meeting with Indian counterpart also touched about the Dokalam issue, Hua said.
Besides attempting to resolve the vexed border dispute, the format of the India-China Special Representatives talks covered the whole gamut of relations between the two countries including political, strategic, economic and trade issues.