Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications and to build trust and understanding; a top Indian diplomat said on Saturday, a move aimed at avoiding a Dokalam-like situation in the future.
Modi said his talks with President Xi focused on diverse areas of India-China cooperation. “We discussed ways to give impetus to our economic ties as well as people-to-people relations. Other areas we spoke about include agriculture, technology, energy and tourism,” he said
Briefing reporters at the end of the two-day informal summit between the two leaders in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Saturday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders underscored the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border region.
“To this end, they issued strategic guidance to their respective militaries to strengthen communication in order to build trust and mutual understanding and enhance predictability and effectiveness in the management of border affairs,” Gokhale said
He said the two leaders further directed their militaries to earnestly implement various confidence building measures agreed upon between the two sides, including the principle of mutual and equal security, and strengthen existing institutional arrangements and information sharing mechanisms to prevent incidents in border regions
The two countries have so far held 20 rounds of talks to resolve the boundary dispute and worked out different mechanisms to keep peace along the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control
His remarks assumes significance as the ‘heart-to-heart’ summit between Modi and Xi is being seen as an effort by India and China to rebuild trust and improve ties that were hit by the 73-day-long Dokalam standoff last year
The two leaders recognised the common threat posed by terrorism and committed to cooperate further on counter-terrorism, he said
When asked whether the issue of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar was raised, he said the two leaders “did not go into specifics”. China has repeatedly blocked India’s bid to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN
The two leaders agreed that India and China are major powers, with strategic and decisional autonomy and they will pursue peaceful, stable and balanced relations and such a relationship will be a positive factor for stability amidst the current global uncertainties, he said, amidst increasing protectionist moves by countries like the US
Modi also mentioned the importance of balancing the trade, and the scope of the possibilities of agricultural exports and pharmaceutical exports to China
The two sides also discussed climate change, sustainable development and food security
Xi shared his experience in terms of the preservation of the Yangtze – China’s longest river – and Modi shared his own experience on the question of the cleaning of the Ganga – India’s longest river.