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  India   All India  02 Oct 2017  Army, Chinese embassy sing different tunes

Army, Chinese embassy sing different tunes

Published : Oct 2, 2017, 1:32 am IST
Updated : Oct 2, 2017, 1:32 am IST

Speculation is rife that some elements in the PLA are not happy with the Chinese government’s handling of the Doklam face-off.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo: PTI)
 Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Chinese government headed by President Xi Jinping and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) do not seem to be on the same page when it comes to dealing with India. While the Chinese embassy on Sunday launched a fresh diplomatic peace initiative and reiterated, for the second time in three days, that the Indian elephant and Chinese dragon should “dance together”, the PLA did not bother to invite the Indian Army for the customary Border Personnel Meetings (BPMs) that takes place on the occasion of the Chinese National Day on October 1 at five points along the Sino-Indian border. The Chinese Army is, evidently, upset at the loss of face it suffered when it had to pull back following the face-off with the Indian Army at Doklam, after failing in its bid to build a road in Bhutanese territory.

Sources confirmed that the BPMs between the two armies did not take place on Sunday at the five traditional BPM points — Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh, Nathu La in Sikkim and Bum La and Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh — as the PLA did not extend an invitation to the Indian Army.

Speculation is rife that some elements in the PLA are not happy with the Chinese government’s handling of the Doklam face-off.

This sentiment could also pose a challenge to the authority of  Mr Xi who is preparing to consolidate his position at the Chinese Communist Party Congress to be held later this month.

Ironically, on Sunday — the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China — the Chinese embassy released a video emphasising the “personal friendship” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi.

It said that the two leaders “agreed to look forward and start a new chapter” during their recent bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Brics Summit.

By repeatedly trying to extend an olive branch to India, China is diplomatically trying to repair the damage caused to the ties after the Doklam episode and bring the focus back on trade relations. But the PLA, nevertheless, seems to be upset. The attitude of the unpredictable Chinese PLA on the ground is also being keenly watched by a wary India.

In the video released on Sunday, Chinese embassy spokesperson and press counsellor Xie Liyan said, “Both leaders have met more than a dozen times on bilateral and multilateral occasions. They have established good personal friendship and working relationship. Especially in the meeting between our two leaders in Xiamen, they agreed to look forward and start a new chapter.

“The dragon and elephant should dance together to achieve the political effects of making one plus one eleven in Sino-India relations. I am full of confidence and expectations for the future of China-India relations,” the spokesperson said. Interestingly, the Chinese have echoed the vision of Mr Modi on “making one plus one eleven” in Sino-Indian ties.

The Chinese embassy spokesperson also said, “President Xi spun the legendary charkha with PM Modi in Gujarat. The (Chinese) President and (Indian) PM walked side by side at Dacien Temple (in China). The Chinese premier (Li Keqiang) took a ‘super selfie’ with the Indian PM at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The Chinese President and Indian PM met twice at Goa and Xiamen (during successive Brics summits).”

“There is great potential in China-India relations. Last year, the trade volume between the two countries exceeded $70 billion. China has been for many years the largest trade partner of India. More than 500 Chinese companies have invested and started business in India. The total investment has reached over $5 billion. Many Indian enterprises have entered the Chinese market such as IT, pharmacy, consultancy and so on.

“People-to-people exchanges are also thriving. Mutual visits between our two countries have exceeded one million. Our local exchanges are blooming. The two countries have established 14 pairs of sister countries and provinces,” the spokesperson said.

Tags: chinese government, xi jinping, sino-indian border
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi