'Strength of Indian, Chinese Army reduced in Doklam following standoff but India keeping close watch in area'
India and China need to maintain peace and tranquillity along their boundary before the final settlement of the issue, said Chinese envoy to India.
"Before the final settlement of the boundary question, we need to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas," Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong told ANI.
The remarks by China's top envoy are significant as they come just days ahead of meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
India and China share nearly 3500 km long border that runs along Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. The two countries fought a war in 1962 over the border. In several areas, the dispute remains unresolved, causing tensions between the two Asian giants from time to time.
Recently, ahead of a massive military exercise planned along the China border by India, soldiers of Indian and Chinese armies engaged in a face-off near the northern bank of Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh but disengaged after talks between the two sides there.
The two troops also had a standoff in Doklam Plateau in 2017 which lasted for about 72 days. The two sides decided to "mutually disengage" from the site after several rounds of negotiations.
Against all odds, however, the situation has largely remained peaceful.
"Over the past decades, no single bullet has been fired at the China-India border area, and peace and tranquillity have been maintained. Boundary question is not only part of China-India relations. We need to keep it in the larger picture of China-India relations and do not let the boundary dispute affect the normal development of bilateral relations," the Chinese envoy said while downplaying the dispute.
Emphasising on jointly resolving issues at a regional level, the Chinese envoy underlined that at the regional level, we should resolve disputes peacefully through dialogues and consultations and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.
"I want to point out that it is normal for neighbours to have differences. The key is to properly handle differences and find a solution through dialogue and consultation," he said.
In an interview with ANI, Sun also said that the special representative mechanism has helped in maintaining peace.
"The China-India boundary question is a complex and sensitive issue left over from history. Since the establishment of the Special Representatives meeting on the boundary question in 2003, the two sides have held 21 rounds of meetings, which have played an important role in promoting the settlement of the boundary question and maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas," the envoy added.
"At present, following the important consensus of our leaders to properly handle boundary question and promote the growth of bilateral relations, and with their political guidance, the two sides has been pushing forward the Special Representatives; meeting process bearing in mind the overall bilateral ties and people & well-being, and striving to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question," Sun further stated.
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