India, China Look To ASEAN Summit To Improve Ties After Doklam Stand-Off

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India, China Look To ASEAN Summit To Improve Ties After Doklam Stand-Off
India, China Look To ASEAN Summit To Improve Ties After Doklam Stand-Off
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamenin May 2017

Officials said PM Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart are expected to meet in Manila, an indication that both countries are looking to move forward on bilateral ties

by Shishir Gupta and Jayanth Jacob

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Manila to chart the future course of ties and increase the economic co-operation between the two countries, officials in South Block said. The meeting is a clear indication that both countries want to put Doklam – the face-off between India and China on the Doklam plateau – behind them, the officials added, asking not to be identified.

The timing for the meeting is still being worked out, the officials said. Prime Minister Modi reaches Manila on November 12 and returns on November 14; he is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump on November 13.

With the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China over last month, the diplomatic message from Beijing, after President Xi Jinping was elected for the second term, is that India is an important neighbour and should be accorded priority; New Delhi also wants to move ahead and bring bilateral ties back on track, the officials said.

That both sides have decided to bury Doklam is evident from the series of bilateral engagements after the Modi-Li meeting. The officials said that the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs will meet in Beijing later this month with the objective of setting up of a hotline between the headquarters of the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA . The hotline will ensure that local commanders on the border do not indulge in any unilateral action.