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Crucial for India-China To Concretise Bilateral Understanding Reached In Xiamen

Delayed meeting of India-China Special Representatives should be convened. Reference to LeT and JeM in BRICS joint statement bound to raise the hackles of Pakistan.

The crucial meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Xiamen has raised hopes of ending the nine-week-old Doklam standoff. 

The discussions between the two leaders lasting more than an hour on Tuesday (September fifth) was "forward looking" about the Sino-Indian relationship, observed Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. Modi and Xi desired that the defence and security personnel must maintain strong contact and cooperation ensuring that the sort of situation that arose in Doklam did not recur.  

On its part the Chinese Foreign ministry said Xi told Modi that Beijing and New Delhi should stick to the basic judgement that the two sides constitute opportunities instead of posing threats to each other. It was hoped India views China's development in a correct and rational way and let the world know that peaceful coexistence is the only correct choice for the two countries. 

This was a reaffirmation by the two leaders of the understanding reached during the Astana summit in June this year to build mutual trust and respect for maintaining peace and tranquility at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). 

India has had notable diplomatic gains at the Xiamen summit in countering terrorism which was on the BRICS agenda. Being Pakistan's all weather friend, China agreeing reference to LeT and JeM in the joint statement is bound to raise the hackles of Islamabad. 

It comes at a time when US President Donald Trump has pointedly asked Islamabad to cease providing safe havens forthwith to the two groups and others.  In any case Beijing has compounded matters for itself by opposing Mazood Azhar's designation as an international terrorist by the United Nations. That the BRICS joint statement finds no mention of Beijing's much touted 'One Belt, One Road' initiative as well as its stand on the South China Sea is not surprising. 

Simultaneously, China is seeking to enlarge its leadership in the BRICS grouping to countries like Thailand, Mexico, Kenya and Egypt among others. In any case its expansionist design is well known. The significance of BRICS to India cannot be undermined coupled with the need to keep China involved multilaterally. Impartial observers emphasise the delayed meeting of the Special Representatives must be convened encompassing the problems connected with the Sikkim boundary as well as the India-China-Bhutan trijunction.  It is imperative that the BRICS decision on terrorist groups like the LeT and JeM are implemented in keeping with the desire of the BRICS leaders. 

And it is indeed crucial that the outcome of the India-China bilateral discussions are concretised. To prevent Doklam type of incidents in future, there is a felt need for a new mechanism. At the same time New Delhi cannot lower its guard amid apprehensions that transgressions by the PLA will not recur. With the Chinese Communist Party Congress scheduled next month in October, the hosts could not have afforded anything but a successful BRICS summit. 

Informed sources said the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam makes it necessary for the two armies to sort out issues. The Indian Army believes apart from the LAC being properly demarcated, necessary CBMs (confidence building measures) have to be put in place. 

The number of points of contact have to be increased for having regular contacts along with establishing a hotline between the two Armies. Areas in Ladakh are also under dispute. Lately there have been incidents of intense violence not evidenced in the past having the portends of leading to a breach of trust among the local military Commanders. Doubts can be removed when the LAC is demarcated properly and all doubts about its alignment is dispelled.  

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