CDS Gen Bipin Rawat warns Kathmandu to be cautious when signing agreements with “other countries” in the region.
India and China on Friday agreed to continue to work towards ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector at the earliest, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
This was agreed upon during the 20th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) which was held today in virtual mode. The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs Naveen Srivastava. The Director-General of the Department of Boundary & Oceanic Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Liang, led the Chinese delegation.
According to the MEA, the two sides reviewed the developments along the LAC in the India-China border areas since the last round of the WMCC held on September 30.
Meanwhile, a readout from the Chinese Embassy said that the two sides had a “candid and in-depth exchange of views” on the situation along the LAC.
According to the readout, the two sides “agreed to earnestly implement the five-point consensus reached between the foreign ministers of both countries” when they met at Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in September.
It said the meeting “focused on the disengagement of front-line troops and take concrete measures to deal with the issues on the ground to further deescalate the border situation.”
“The two sides spoke highly of the outcomes of the 8th round of Senior Commanders Meeting agreed to continue dialogue and consultation via diplomatic and military channels, hold the 9th round of Senior Commanders Meeting as soon as possible, properly deal with the outstanding issues on the ground, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” the Chinese embassy readout said.
The Indian ministry said that the two sides noted that the 7th and 8th round of Senior Commanders meetings held on October 12 and November 6 respectively had in-depth discussions in this regard and that these discussions had also contributed to ensuring stability on the ground.
“The two sides agreed that based on the guidance provided by senior leaders and the agreements reached between the two Foreign Ministers and Special Representatives, they would continue to work towards ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector at the earliest,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, calling the India-Nepal ties as “tall as the Himalayas and as deep as the Indian Ocean,” Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said India’s goodwill towards its neighbor comes with “no strings attached.” However, without naming China, CDS Rawat warned Kathmandu to be cautious when signing agreements with “other countries” in the region.
“…[T]he canvas and spread of cooperation, friendship, and people-to-people contact between India and Nepal are deep and extensive. But in the present age, Nepal is also opening to other nations including China based on its independent foreign policy,” said General Rawat at the second annual dialogue with the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE) during the virtual meeting. Speaking on the theme of “Soft Power Dimension: India-Nepal Relations,” CDS Rawat said, “India’s goodwill comes with no strings attached. Nepal is free to act independently in international affairs but must be vigilant and learn from Sri Lanka and other nations which have also signed agreements with other countries in the region.”
General Bipin Rawat said it is necessary to strengthen the existing relationship further for the peace and prosperity for both countries who are already “inseparable in every way.”
“The total bilateral trade has reached to the extend USD 8.27 billion. India’s exports for the same have been around USD 7.76 billion while the imports into India from Nepal has been USD 508 million,” General Rawat.
CDS said that India accounts for over 30 per cent of the Foreign Direct Investment in Nepal and over 150 Indian ventures are also operating in Nepal, in various fields.
“The balance of trade is much in India’s favor considering the many essential items have to be imported into Nepal from India. As far the investment is concerned, India accounts for over 30 per cent of the Foreign Direct Investment in Nepal and over 150 Indian ventures are successfully operating in Nepal in various fields such as manufacturing, services, banking, insurance, education, telecom, power sector and tourism industry,” he said.