Chinese and Indian foreign ministers stress dialogue on dispute at BRICS session in New York

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) foreign ministers' meeting in Bali, Indonesia, July 7, 2022. (Xinhua/Xu Qin)

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar highlighted the importance of peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation.

The two attended a BRICS ((Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) foreign ministers' meeting hosted by South Africa in New York on Sept 22. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also attended the group meeting where they exchanged views on major global and regional issues on the United Nations or UN agenda in the political, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, as well as on intra-BRICS activities.

The foreign ministers of BRICS countries committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, and stressed peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, according to a statement issued by Indian Federal Ministry of External Affairs on Sept 23.

The foreign ministers supported all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises and reaffirmed their commitment to collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means, the statement said.

Jaishankar has planned for more than 50 meetings on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly. 

The possibilities for mutual support for their initiatives at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly or UNGA were also discussed. They expressed support for the continued cooperation of BRICS members in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges among their Permanent Missions to the UN.

Getting along for rise of Asia

It is in the mutual interest of India and China to find a way to accommodate each other because of the whole idea of the rise of Asia, which is contingent on the biggest economies of the continent getting along with each other, Jaishankar made the remarks a day before the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting while interacting with the audience at the Columbia University at UN General Assembly session.

Jaishankar said at the event that India’s foreign policy focus is to bring the ties with China “back to normal.” The “very complex problem” today was “how do two rising powers in absolute proximity find a modus vivendi”, Jaishankar added. 

"In our times, the biggest change we have seen in the world is the rise of China, no question about it," he said, adding, "it has, in a sense, mitigated somewhat the dramatic rise of India."

To a question on when a Chinese consulate in Chennai will be established, he said that "to be very honest, there was a time when we were thinking of expanding our respective consular presences. I do not recollect a recent conversation. But in any case at this point of time, very frankly, I think it's important for our relationship with China to come back to normal.”

Professor Swaran Singh, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, noted the absence of a bilateral meeting between Jaishankar and Wang Yi may indicate “inability to find a common ground on their complex equations”. 

From Indian point of view this perhaps reflects the sentiment expressed in India’s new formulation that normalcy in bilateral relations depends on normalcy on the border, the professor added.

Jaishankar’s last bilateral meeting with Wang Yi was on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on July 7.

BRICS, founded in 2009, has been united in calling for more representation of major emerging economies on the world's stage. 

The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily.