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China-India relations

China, India should build ties, resolve differences through mutual trust, Beijing says

Despite difficulties and tests, relations between Asia’s two biggest countries continue to grow, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 March, 2018, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 March, 2018, 3:19pm

No mountain is high enough to stop China and India having a strong relationship, as long as both sides strive to build trust instead of fighting one another, China’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

“Despite certain tests and difficulties, Sino-Indian relations continue to grow,” Wang Yi told a press briefing on the sidelines of the ongoing National People’s Congress in Beijing, the annual session of China’s ceremonial parliament.

His comments came after a turbulent period for the two Asian giants, and just days after India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused China of increasing its military presence on the Doklam plateau in the Himalayas.

Sitharaman said on Monday that recent satellite images showed Beijing had built helipads, and deployed tanks and missiles in the disputed region. Similar images released in the middle of last year showed that New Delhi had also increased its military presence in the area with the deployment of more warplanes.

China boosts air defences in western region as Indian border row simmers

Since their 73-day military stand-off in Doklam last summer, tensions between China and India have been further stoked by the presidential election campaigns in the Maldives, the rise to power of a pro-China government in Nepal, and Beijing’s port-buying activities in the Indian Ocean.

India’s dilemma in the Maldives: is it time to deal with Chinese influence?

Despite the slew of disputes, Wang dismissed claims that ties between the two countries were deteriorating.

“China has upheld its legitimate rights and interests while taking care to preserve the relationship,” he said, adding that the two sides should free themselves of prejudices and replace suspicion with trust.

“The Chinese dragon and the Indian elephant must not fight with each other, but dance with each other,” Wang said.

“With political trust, not even the Himalayas can stop us from having friendly exchanges.”