After 18-month gap, Chinese envoy in Delhi: ‘Ready to work, turn the page’

English | 11 May, 2024 | 10:14 AM
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China is ready to work with India to “accommodate” each other’s concerns and find a mutually acceptable solution to “specific issues” through dialogue at an early date, Xu said. Xu, 60, who has served as China’s Ambassador to Afghanistan and Romania, was appointed the 17th Chinese Ambassador to India by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Since March 2022, India has a full-time Ambassador in Beijing, Pradeep Kumar Rawat, an experienced China hand. Xu said he regards his posting in New Delhi as an “honourable mission and a sacred duty” to improve and advance bilateral ties. “I will do my best to deepen understanding and friendship between the two peoples, expand exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and improve and advance the bilateral relationship,” Xu told PTI and China’s CGTN-TV in a media interaction in Beijing before leaving for New Delhi.

“China is ready to work with India to accommodate each other’s concerns, find a mutually acceptable solution to specific issues through dialogue at an early date, and turn the page as soon as possible,” Xu said without elaborating further.He added: “I noted Prime Minister Modi’s comments on the importance of China-India ties, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson responded to that right afterwards.”

In his recent interview with Newsweek magazine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India’s relationship with China is important and significant.

“The Chinese side always believes that China-India ties should not be defined by any single issue or area; the boundary question is not the entirety of the relationship. Speaking at the Indian Council of World Affairs in September 2014, President Xi Jinping said that we must not focus our attention only on differences and forget about our friendship and cooperation,” Xu said.

“I look forward to, and I trust that I will have, the support and assistance from the Indian government and friends from all sectors as I work to perform my ambassadorial duties,” he said.

“We face multiple global challenges such as climate change, food and energy crises, weak economic recovery and so on,” Xu said. “Closer communication and coordination on global and regional affairs will not only bring opportunities to both countries and the world but also add stability and positivity to international relations.”

In September last year, in a tit-for-tat response signalling a downgrade of the relationship, India had sent Gourangalal Das, Joint Secretary (East Asia), MEA, as chief guest at the Chinese National Day reception – the first in-person gathering since the start of the Covid pandemic and the Chinese incursions in eastern Ladakh in 2020.

Usually,the government sends ministers, holding a Cabinet rank or a Minister of State portfolio, to National Day receptions. With no full-time Ambassador of China to India for 11 months at that time, the National Day reception was hosted by Charge d’Affaires Ma Jia.

She had been officiating as the interim envoy ever since Ambassador Sun Weidong left for Beijing in October 2022.

MEA official spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal, said Thursday: “We have our Ambassador in China, a new Chinese Ambassador is coming here, it’s a normal routine… so that the exchanges can be continued.”

India and China have had strained ties over the border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 2020 and the Galwan border clashes in June 2020, in which 20 Indian soldiers, including a Col-rank officer, were killed. Chinese soldiers were also killed in the clashes.

The new Ambassador will have a full plate. Over 20 rounds of military-level talks have taken place, 50-60,000 Indian and Chinese troops remain locked in a border standoff on both sides of the Line of Actual Control.

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