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Sunday 23 September, 2018, 8:56 am
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China says can't afford another Doklam, bats for joint summit with India and Pakistan

New Delhi: Emphasising on the need to find a "mutually acceptable solution" on the boundary issue through a meeting of the special representatives,  Chinese envoy to India Luo Zhaohui said on Monday that bilateral ties between India and China can't take the strain of another Doklam episode.

Delivering a keynote address on 'Beyond Wuhan - How far and fast can China-India relations go' at an event organised by the Chinese embassy, he also said that "some Indian friends" had suggested a trilateral summit comprising India, China and Pakistan, which was a "very constructive" idea. Leaders of China, Russia and Mongolia hold a similar meet, Zhaohui noted. "This is a proposal suggested by some Indian friends and it is a very a good and constructive idea. Maybe not now, but in the future, that is a great idea," he said.

Dwelling on Sino-Indian ties, Zhaohui said it is quite natural to have differences but they need to be controlled and managed through cooperation. "We need to control, manage, narrow differences through expanding cooperation. The boundary question was left over by history. We need to find a mutually acceptable solution through Special Representatives' Meeting while adopting confidence-building measures," he said. "We cannot stand another Doklam (sic)," the envoy added.

Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a 73-day stand-off at the Doklam tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China between June to August 2017.  One of the immediate fallouts of the Doklam stand-off was the suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from Nathu-La side and the annual military exercise between the two countries. China also did not give the hydrological data of the Brahmaputra and the Indus river that originates in Chinese Tibet. Zhaohui said on Monday that China will continue to promote religious exchanges and make arrangements for Indian pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet.

Post-Doklam, there have been frequent high-level engagements between the leaders of the two countries. In 2018 alone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met twice in the last two months in Wuhan and Qingdao.

Zhaohui noted that security cooperation is one of the three pillars of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, an eight-member grouping also comprising India, China and Pakistan. The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became its members in 2017.

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