Home / Politics / Policy /  India, China agree on bilateral engagement calendar

New Delhi: The Dokalam standoff behind them, India and China have agreed on calendar for bilateral engagement in the coming months.

The agreement was reached during foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale’s visit to Beijing from 23-24 February for diplomatic consultations with senior Chinese officials, an Indian foreign ministry statement said.

Gokhale, who was India’s ambassador to Beijing when the Dokalam standoff took place and is seen as having played a role in its resolution, held talks with the Chinese vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou, and called on foreign minister Wang Yi and state councillor Yang Jiechi.

“During the consultations, the two sides reviewed recent developments in bilateral relations, including high level exchanges, and discussed the agenda for bilateral engagement in the coming months," the statement said. “Both sides agreed upon the need to expedite various dialogue mechanisms in order to promote multifaceted cooperation across diverse fields of India-China engagement," it said.

“They noted the need to build on the convergences between India and China and address differences on the basis of mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations. Both sides underlined that as two major countries, sound development of relations between India and China is a factor of stability in the world today. The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest," the Indian statement added.

Ties between India and China were rocked by the 73-day long standoff in Bhutan’s Dokalam plateau in June. The faceoff was triggered by Chinese troops trying to construct a road on Bhutanese territory in proximity to India’s vulnerable Chickens neck region—a sliver of territory that links India with its northeast. Bhutanese troops objected to the Chinese move and when the Chinese brushed off the protest, Indian troops stationed on the plateau under a special agreement between India and Bhutan, intervened sparking the standoff that ended on 28 August.

The standoff triggered tensions between the Asian giants and it was only after the faceoff ended that New Delhi confirmed a visit to Xiamen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Brics Summit in September.

Following this, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visited India in December for the Russia-India-China foreign ministers meet.

Official level dialogues exist in a number of areas including the boundary dispute, that is seen as legacy of the 1962 India-China war.

This year, Modi is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 meet in Argentina besides the Brics leaders’ meet in South Africa.

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