Reports that China and India will hold the 14th round of talks at the corps commander level as soon as possible to try to resolve their border disputes are encouraging, as it suggests both sides are willing to keep the door to negotiations open, even after they failed to achieve any agreement during the previous round in October.
Despite the lingering military standoff, efforts to ease tensions and restore peace and tranquility along the border have never ceased, with the two sides having just completed the 23rd Meeting of their Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs via video link last month, during which both vowed to “further deescalate” the border situation. That was in compliance with a consensus reached in July between the foreign ministers of the two countries that China and India, as partners rather than rivals or enemies, must refrain from taking unilateral actions that would complicate the border situation and work together to lift bilateral ties from the current low level.
Thanks to the efforts of both sides, the situation on the border has remained relatively calm since the deadly clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020, with troops of both countries having completed the disengagement process at some friction points. This has paved the way for the two militaries to resolve the remaining frictions at the border by holding further in-depth discussions based on existing agreements and protocols.
Indeed, as the two largest developing countries, China and India pose no threat to each other’s development. Rather their ever-closer economic and trade relations have benefited both sides tremendously, which should prompt the neighbors to take all steps to avoid confrontation that may derail the healthy development of bilateral ties.
The two countries achieved a milestone this year when bilateral trade crossed the landmark $100 billion during the first 11 months, with India’s exports to China increasing 39 percent year-on-year and its imports from China surging 49 percent, which underscores how complementary their economies are.
The largest threat Sino-Indian relations face is the rising nationalistic sentiment in India, which some of its politicians have been constantly fueling to serve their own political ends.
This is evidenced in the widespread bans imposed on Chinese apps and boycotts of Chinese products in India last year. Recently, the Indian tax authorities launched a large-scale probe into Chinese companies operating in India, which affected their normal production and business activities.
The previous round of talks failed to reach agreement due to the “unreasonable and unrealistic” demands put forward by the Indian side. India must meet China half way to bring bilateral relations back on the track of sound and stable development.
Editorial, China Daily