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Modi, Xi to avert another Doklam

WUHAN (China), April 28: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday pledged to keep the India-China border quiet and personally guide their respective armies to avert Doklam-like military stand-off in future as the two wrapped up their two-day informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the icebreaking meetings between Modi and Xi will have a ‘positive impact’ on a number of thorny issues that have bogged down the two uneasy Asian neighbours.
“The two leaders underscored that it is important to maintain peace along India-China border region and decided that they will issue strategic guidance to their respective militaries to strengthen communications and to build trust and understanding,” Gokhale said briefing the media on the six rounds of talks between Modi and Xi in two days.
They also decided to strengthen existing institutional mechanisms to prevent and manage situations in the border areas. Gokhale said Modi and Xi were of the view that Special Representatives on border talks from both countries will have to intensify their efforts to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement.
Gokhale said the two leaders reviewed developments in India-China relations from the strategic and long-term perspective and decided to implement various confidence-building measures which had already been agreed upon by the two sides.
“They also agreed that both sides have the maturity and wisdom to handle the differences through peaceful discussion within the context of the overall relationship, bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations,” Gokhale said. However, Gokhale did not reveal if irritants in Sino-Indian relations like China’s Belt and Road initiative and its opposition to New Delhi’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group came up in the six rounds of talks between Modi and Xi in two days.
Meanwhile, sources said India and China have decided to work on a joint economic project in Afghanistan, a move that could upset Beijing’s ‘all-weather ally’ and New Delhi’s arch-rival Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan.
India and China went to war in 1962 over their border and still carry the baggage of 3,500-km-long disputed boundary.
Asked about China’s growing influence in the South Asia which is considered India’s sphere of influence, Gokhale said: “The two leaders were very clear that we have converging interests. We have our respective visions of domestic and foreign policy that we will work together and use strategic communication to ensure that we are able to improve the situation regionally, internationally.”

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Ankur Kalita