The first Strategic Dialogue between India and China in Beijing last week that was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesul was “positive and constructive”, a senior official said here on Tuesday.
“Our assessment is that the recent meeting was positive and constructive,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in response to a question on an article that appeared in the Global Times, a leading English daily in China, in connection with the Strategic Dialogue.
“We both agreed that at the time when the global situation is in flux, a more stable, substantive and forward-looking India-China relationship was good for the international system,” Baglay said.
“The two sides had open and useful exchanges on Afghanistan, UN, counter-terrorism and nuclear issues. While in some cases, we found common ground, in others, it was felt that dialogue should continue further.”
An editorial in the state-run Global Times following the Strategic Dialogue said that India needed to be “honest” with itself and acknowledge its asymmetrical relationship with China and not let it become an impediment in bilateral ties.
It suggested that New Delhi could take a leaf out of how Beijing benefited from its relationship with the US “despite major ideological differences and visible geopolitical confrontations”.
It said it was in India’s interest to “rationalise the concerns over its disparity with China” and not “obsess with false parity”.
It also advised India that it needed to lower its expectations and attach more importance to the bilateral ties.
During the Strategic Dialogue, New Delhi raised concerns over China’s repeated opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and veto against a resolution seeking a global ban against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.
“While most Chinese scholars and critics received the dialogue positively, believing it may thaw the atmosphere and propel the bilateral relations into a new era, their Indian counterparts turned out to be rather pessimistic – if not cynical, quoting the ‘unsolved’ issues regarding India’s NSG bid as well as the UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar.” the editorial said.
“Understanding this critical difference between the two is the key to capturing the shifting dynamics between the two emerging economic giants.”
In his statement on Tuesday, Baglay said that on the bilateral side, “there was appreciation of progress on areas like investment and tourism”.
“At the same time, both sides articulated their respective concerns and remain committed to working together in that regard,” he stated.
“We found the Strategic Dialogue in its restructured form to be a productive exercise that addressed the full complexity of India-China relations. It is important that we take a balanced and objective view of what is clearly one of the key relationships in international politics.”