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Dhaka Tribune

India tells Chinese minister that border face-off impedes ties


Top Chinese diplomat in India in first visit since June 2020 border clashes in Ladakh

Update : 25 Mar 2022, 05:17 PM

India sees the complete disengagement of Chinese and Indian troops from a face-off on their remote border as key to better relations, its foreign minister said on Friday, following talks in New Delhi with his Chinese counterpart.

Wang Yi is the most senior Chinese official to visit India since border clashes in the northern Himalayan region of Ladakh in June 2020 led to a sharp deterioration in relations between the Asian giants.

Both nations have deployed thousands of troops on the high-altitude border. But there has been little progress in more than a dozen rounds of talks between senior military officers to try and defuse the situation.

"I was very honest in my discussions with the Chinese foreign minister, especially in conveying our national sentiments," India's Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a news briefing after his three-hour meeting with Wang.

"The frictions and tensions that arise from China's deployments since April 2020 cannot be reconciled with a normal relationship between the two neighbours."

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (left) and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi greet the media before their meeting in New Delhi, India, March 25, 2022 Twitter/@DrSJaishankar via Reuters

In a statement, Wang said the two sides should resolve their differences, adding that the world would listen if China and India spoke with one voice.

Jaishankar, a former ambassador to Beijing, said it was at China's request that India did not announce Wang's trip before his arrival in the capital late on Thursday.

Wang met India's national security adviser, Ajit Doval, who also pressed him for a de-escalation at the border.

It was not immediately clear if India offered to pull back its troops if China did.

Wang and Jaishankar also discussed their nations' approaches to tackling Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Both of us agreed on the importance of an immediate ceasefire, as well as a return to diplomacy," Jaishankar said.

India and China each consider Russia a friend and have rejected Western calls for condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a "special military operation".

Wang, who visited Pakistan and Afghanistan earlier this week, is set to fly to the Himalayan nation of Nepal later on Friday during a whirlwind tour of South Asia, where China is trying to strengthen its influence.

Before his arrival, Wang drew a rebuke from India for remarks in Pakistan on disputed Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region each rules in part but claims in full, an issue on which China has generally backed its close ally, Pakistan.

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