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Beyond Specific Issues: China Urges India to Foster Enduring Relations

India and China continue to grapple with their differing perspectives on advancing their bilateral relations. During a meeting between China's top diplomat Wang Yi and India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Jakarta, Wang emphasized that "specific issues" should not dominate the overall relationship between the two countries.

In the talks held at India's request, Jaishankar acknowledged that they had discussed outstanding issues related to peace and tranquility in the border areas. He also mentioned that their conversation covered various agendas, including the ASEAN Regional Forum, BRICS, and the Indo-Pacific. Previously, during bilateral talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in March and May, Jaishankar had stressed the significance of peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a prerequisite for normalizing the broader relationship. He had also called for China to move forward with disengagement in the remaining friction areas.

In China's official statement released on Saturday, Wang, who leads the Central Commission on Foreign Affairs, expressed that President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reached an important consensus on stabilizing China-India relations. He emphasized the need for both sides to take actions that align with this consensus, adhere to the correct direction of bilateral relations, understand the global development trends, and work towards stabilizing and improving China-India relations. Wang further stated that the two countries should support each other's development, focus their resources on improving people's livelihoods, and avoid letting specific issues define their overall relationship.

Regarding the border issue, Wang expressed hope that India would meet China halfway and find a mutually acceptable solution. However, India's perspective differs significantly. New Delhi has observed a stark contrast between China's public statements about meeting halfway and stabilizing ties, and the Chinese military's firm stance in slow-moving negotiations and refusal to restore the status quo while enhancing forward infrastructure.

Although both sides have disengaged in five friction areas, India believes that China has made unreasonable demands in the last two areas, namely Demchok and Depsang. In 2020, the Chinese military mobilized along the LAC, leading to multiple transgressions in an attempt to enforce China's claims unilaterally. Since then, bilateral relations have remained frozen.

Another emerging point of contention in the relationship involves regulatory actions taken by India against Chinese companies, including raids on several Chinese smartphone firms. This issue has garnered extensive coverage in Chinese state media. During the talks, Wang raised concerns about the restrictive measures India has taken against Chinese companies and called for a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies in India.

As India and China navigate their complex relationship, finding common ground on specific issues while preserving the overall trajectory of their ties remains a formidable challenge.

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