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Differences Should Not Become Disputes, Sitharaman Tells Chinese Defence Minister

The remark came in the backdrop of the strain in ties between the two countries after the Doklam standoff.


Updated:April 24, 2018, 8:12 PM IST
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Differences Should Not Become Disputes, Sitharaman Tells Chinese Defence Minister
Nirmala Sitharaman attends the SCO Summit in Beijing. (Photo: MoD)

Beijing: Differences should not lead to disputes in relations between India and China, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told her Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe in the backdrop of the strain in ties between the two countries after the Doklam standoff.

Sitharaman's remarks came as she met Wei during which both sides reviewed defence ties between the two countries. This is Sitharaman's maiden visit to China post Doklam. During the meeting, she congratulated Wei for his appointment as the defence minister last month.

“You have been assigned a major responsibility," she said.

“This is my first visit to China after becoming defence minister. We view India-China relations as an important relationship in our foreign policy," she told Wei, regarded a close confidant of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

As two large developing countries engaged in their national modernisation, India-China relations transcend bilateral dimensions and will have bearings on regional and global context, she said.

"We are guided in our relations with China by the consensus reached between our leaders that at the time of global uncertainty, India-China relations could be a factor of stability and that we must not allow our differences to become disputes," she said.

Welcoming Sitharaman, Wei said that China attaches great importance to her visit here. Sitharaman is in China to attend the Defence Ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

"Your attendance at the meeting in China will further deepen our military relations and enhance the development of security cooperation of the SCO," Wei said.

This is the first meeting attended by India and Pakistan after they were admitted into the SCO last year.

The SCO, in which China plays an influential role, is comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

During the summit, she said the SCO must adopt an uncompromising approach towards the persisting threat of terrorism in Afghanistan, as it is essential to advance peace and prosperity in the region.

She also said that India will participate in the SCO's Peace Mission joint military exercises being held in Russia later this year.

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