After Ajit Doval-Yang Jiechi meeting, signals emerge about diplomatic resolution of Doklam standoff

In a sign that the standoff between India and China at India-China-Bhutan trijunction could deescalate, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met Chinese state councillor Yang Jiechi and offered “serious diplomatic efforts” to bring down the rising temperatures.

This was the first official meeting between the two top officials of India and China ever since a standoff broke out between Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army over China’s attempt to build motorable road in Doklam plateau, which is Bhutanese territory. The meeting came on the sidelines of the two-day BRICS Security Summit in Beijing. Doval is on an official visit to the Chinese capital to attend the BRICS Security Summit. The NSA is scheduled to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday.

Around the time the NSA met the Chinese state councillor, New Delhi in a statement said that “Differences between India and China should be handled or addressed in such a manner that they do not become disputes”.

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Sending out a similar “conciliatory signal”, Chinese official news agency Xinhua published an editorial following the meeting between Doval and Jiechi. The editorial made a strong plea to avoid possibility of a war.

“Most economies, including those in the West, will find themselves negatively affected by an India-China war in a globalised and intertwined world today,” the editorial said.

The editorial emphasised the need to enhance mutual trust between India and China as the two countries are “not born rivals”.

“India must understand that China wishes what is good for the Indian people and would love to see a strong India standing shoulder by shoulder with China,” the Xinhua editorial said.

This is in sharp contrast to earlier commentaries published in Chinese state run newspaper Global Times, which had called for anti-India propaganda and even threats of war.

The Xinhua editorial further said, “Instead of being rivals, India and China have much more common ground, common interests and common aspirations. Both as developing countries, the two need to work together on important issues like fighting climate change, protectionism and the financial privileges of Washington.”

“Both China and India need to enhance communication and nurture trust between them, first by recognising that the two are not born rivals and that harboring ill will against each other is dangerous,” it added.

“Hopefully, wisdom will guide the two countries to common prosperity. There is more than enough room for them to co-exist and thrive in Asia and in the world,” the Xinhua editorial observed. 

Back home in New Delhi, India has reiterated the promise of a “development partnership” with China based on the “Astana consensus”. Astana consensus refers to the outcome of the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese President on June 9, held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.

“We have also mentioned our approach to the settlement of border… our approach is to resolve in a peaceful manner through discussions. There are established mechanisms to address the border issue,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.

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