China reacts to PM Modi’s remarks, says ‘great positive progress’ made to resolve border dispute

China, PM Modi, India China border row
Image Source : AP Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing: China and India have made “great positive progress” to resolve the border standoff and both sides are maintaining close communication, according to the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Friday. This comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed an urgency to resolve the “prolonged situation” at the border to remove the “abnormality in bilateral relations”.

“About the border issue, I can tell you that China and India are remaining in close communication through diplomatic and military channels and great positive progress has been made,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao told a media briefing here responding to a question on PM Modi’s interview to Newsweek. “We also believe that a healthy China and India relations serve the interests of the two countries,” she said.

China hopes India will work in the same direction to “properly manage” differences between both sides and promote the bilateral relations on a healthy stable track, Mao further remarked. She further informed that China has noted PM Modi’s remarks, and said, “Sound and stable China-India relations serve the interests of both countries and are conducive to peace and development in the region and beyond,” she said.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson also repeated Beijing’s oft-repeated stand that the border dispute with India does not represent the entirety of China-India relations, and it should be placed appropriately in bilateral relations and managed properly”. India has previously maintained that the relations cannot be normalised without resolving the border situation.

What did PM Modi say?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while noting that India’s relationship with China is important, has stressed the urgency of addressing the “prolonged situation” on the borders in order to put behind the “abnormality in bilateral interactions” between the two countries so that peace and tranquillity are restored in the disputed areas through constructive engagement.

In an interview with US magazine Newsweek, PM Modi said, “For India, the relationship with China is important and significant. It is my belief that we need to urgently address the prolonged situation on our borders so that the abnormality in our bilateral interactions can be put behind us.” He asserted that peaceful and stable relations between India and China are important for not just the two countries but the entire region and world.

“I hope and believe that through positive and constructive bilateral engagement at the diplomatic and military levels, we will be able to restore and sustain peace and tranquillity in our borders,” he added. PM Modi also said that the Quad grouping – comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan – is not targeted towards any country and the members are present in several multilateral groups.

India-China border row

The relations between India and China have been frozen except for trade ties ever since the eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Tso (lake) area. The two sides have so far held 21 rounds of corps commanders-level talks to resolve the standoff, but are yet to yield a breakthrough.

While India has maintained that there cannot be restoration of normalcy in its relations with China as long as the state of the borders remains abnormal, China continues to press India to delink the border issue and bilateral relations and work for normalcy. China has stressed multiple times that the boundary question does not represent the entirety of the China-India relations, which should be placed appropriately in the bilateral relations and managed properly.

(with PTI inputs)

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