11 Dec 2017 14:17 IST

Three months after Doklam stand-off, Chinese Foreign Minister in India

Likely to discuss OBOR, ASEAN apart from border row

More than three months after a bitter border dispute over Doklam plateau in the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction area, India and China are expected to once again sit on the discussion table to resume talks on settling the border issue.

The matter is expected to come up during a bilateral meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is presently on a visit to India from December 10-12 for the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral dialogue, that is taking place on Monday, sources told BusinessLine.

This is first such high-level visit from China to India after the two countries, on August 28, diffused one of the most acerbic border disputes.

The dispute began on June 16, when a construction party of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) started building a road near the disputed tri-junction area.

Apart from meeting Swaraj, Wang is also expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the topmost agenda being the resumption of border talks.

Rough Patch

Relations between India and China have been particularly rough since the beginning of this year. China became particularly upset with India when exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh in April, postponing the RIC dialogue scheduled for that month.

“We expect to discuss all bilateral issues, we also expect that regional and certain global issues will also come up for discussion,” Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, said at a press briefing on Friday.

Later this month, State Councillor Yang Jiechi will visit India to resume the talks on border management with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, both of whom are Special Representatives of their respective governments on border issues.

Wang’s visit also comes at a time when the US, Japan, Australia and India have decided to revive the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. In turn, the Chinese have also decided to coax India once again into taking part in the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative.

Chapter over

“There has been a lot of bad blood. But I think that we have come out of Doklam and that chapter is over. This will not a have bearing on the talks. Minister Wang’s visit will be more on OBOR and ASEAN connectivity,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor (School of International Studied), Jawaharlal Nehru University, and an expert of China.

Coaxing India

Recently, the Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui had even hinted at renaming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to cajole India into participating in the project.

Besides, post the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, several high-level rejigs have taken place within the Politburo.

Yang is now a Politburo member and by March a new SR will be appointed for border talks. There are chances that it will be Wang, who may be his successor, according to Kondapalli.

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