India talks ‘development partnership’ to soothe dragon on Doklam

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NEW DELHI: Trying to bring down rising temperatures caused by a tense stand-off with China on the Doklam plateau, India on Thursday reiterated the promise of a “development partnership” with China based on the “Astanaconsensus”.

MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay referred to Sushma Swaraj‘s comment in Rajya Sabha on Thursday about building a development partnership with China.

“The basis should be the Astana consensus, which had two components — first, that positive India-China relations are good for the region and the world and are a factor of stability; and second, that differences should not become disputes.”

The stridency of Chinese rhetoric has been progressively matched by an equally conciliatory tone by India. Foreign secretary, S Jaishankar used this in a recent speech in Singapore, and since then an “Astana consensus” has been regularly rolled out by government functionaries.

Coming even as Ajit Doval and Yang Jieche meet in Beijing, it is intended to convey that India is not spoiling for a fight with China. It does not imply that India would give up its ground positions, but means that a search for a diplomatic resolution is seriously underway.

 Vijay Gokhale, India’s ambassador to China, has been the pointperson to engage the Chinese government in Beijing, and sources said he has been holding regular meetings with different sections of the government.
In the same spirit, the government told Parliament that India “is also engaged with the government of the People’s Republic of China through diplomatic channels to maintain peace and tranquillity in accordance with various bilateral agreements, memorandum of understanding, protocol and joint statement of 1993, 1996, 2003, 2005, 2012 and 2013 and is committed to finding an amicable resolution acceptable to concerned countries.”

Explaining the current crisis, Swaraj, answering questions in Parliament, said they had “conveyed to the Chinese side that their actions in Doklam area amount to a significant change in status quo which is not in consonance with the bilateral understandings between India and China under the framework of the Special Representatives on the Boundary Question since the Doklam area is directly relevant for determination of the tri-junction point between India, China and Bhutan.”

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