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Dragon & Elephant Should Dance Together

 Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping Summit held on Tuesday September 5, 2017; on the side-lines of BRICS Summit hosted by China in Xiamen city of China; was a turning point in positive trend in Sino-Indian relations. The two leaders had their first substantive, constructive and forward looking bilateral meeting; after the Doklam standoff, which had put ties between the two countries under strain. The two nuclear powers were engaged in a bitter, military confrontation in a disputed and strategically important area, Doklam, in the Himalayas during the period June 16 to August 28, 2017, after China’s People’s Liberation Army moved a large earthmoving unit on to the Doklam plateau and started constructing a road towards Doka La.

Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had their first substantive, constructive and forward looking bilateral meeting on Tuesday September 5, 2017 on the side-lines of BRICS Summit hosted by China in Xiamen city of China; after the Doklam standoff, which had put ties between the two countries under strain. The two nuclear powers were engaged in a bitter, military confrontation in a disputed and strategically important area, Doklam, in the Himalayas during the period June 16 to August 28, 2017, after China’s People’s Liberation Army moved a large earthmoving unit on to the Doklam plateau and started constructing a road towards Doka La.

  • Indian Prime Minister Modi said that, “We held fruitful talks on bilateral relations between India and China”.
  • Chinese President Jinping called for putting its bilateral relationship with India on the “right track” during the meeting stating that, ‘healthy, stable’ China-India ties are necessary, as India and China are neighbours and also two of the world’s largest and emerging countries.
  • China is prepared to work with India to seek guidance from the five principles of Panchsheel: Jinping told PM Modi
  • Panchsheel treaty was a Jawaharlal Nehru-proposed agreement between India and China. It was signed on April 29, 1954. The five principles are:
  • Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • Mutual non-aggression
  • Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs
  • Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit
  • Peaceful co-existence
  • “Peace and tranquillity are a pre-requisite for border security… Defence and security (personnel) must maintain strong contact and cooperation so that such differences don’t occur again,” informed India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, immediately after the above meeting.
  • “As agreed at Astana, we would not let differences become disputes. At a time the world was changing, we would ensure that India-China relations were a factor of stability.” The foreign secretary was referring to the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi on the side-lines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Kazakhstan.
  • “It is natural that between large powers there would be areas of difference and it should be handled with mutual respect”.
  • Two leaders had “laid out a very positive view of the relationship and had a detailed discussion about the mechanisms to establish new ways to prevent such incidents from recurring which could help both countries really go forward in that direction”.
  • In China, there is a growing perception that a closure of the Doklam crisis has opened a fresh round of calibrated bonding between the two countries. China has become “more attentive to India’s concerns in the fight against terrorism,” as reflected in the BRICS joint statement of Monday September 4,2017; where, for the first time, China, at the highest level, did not object the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e –Taiba as international terror groups.

This especially important meeting sent a critical message of reconciliation and cooperation to the world in a timely manner. The outcomes were beyond expectations. Both leaders agreed to start a new chapter. An important consensus has been reached to enhance mutual trust, focus on cooperation, and manage differences. Both leaders also agreed to conduct closer high-level exchanges, revitalise a series of dialogues and mechanisms, as well as promote youth and educational cooperation, according Luo Zhaohui, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to India, who had the privilege of participating in the meeting. President Xi emphasised that, “we should be each other’s development opportunities rather than be threats to each other”, “dragon and elephant should dance together”. PM Modi shared the same idea and believes that the political effects of “making one plus one eleven” can be achieved in China-India relations.

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