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India-China talks cannot make progress if they don’t empathise with each other’s interests

Calling for the resumption of talks between top military commanders of India and China, Indian envoy said on Wednesday the dialogue between both countries cannot make much progress if they do not “empathise” with each other’s aspirations and interests.

In his first remarks after the unprecedented informal summit at Wuhan between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, Ambassador Gautam Bambawale said, “I would like to see a resumption of military exchanges between India and China as well as strategic communication between our top military commanders”.

While emphasising the importance of the significance of candid talks at all levels, Bambawale significantly observed that dialogue cannot make progress without the two sides empathising with each other’s sensitivities and interests.

“An important principle in India-China relations is the necessity of being sensitive to the other country’s aspirations and interests,” Bambawale said.

“In the absence of such sensitivity, we may talk to each other but little progress will be made if we do not empathise with the other side’s point of view,” he said.

The dialogue between the two organisations was not held last year apparently due to the Dokalam standoff.

Referring to the Wuhan summit between Modi and Xi, he said, “both leaders spoke freely and frankly to each other on strategic and over-arching issues pertaining to the international and regional situations as well as on India-China relations”.

“I have always maintained that if India and China have to live and progress together, especially in the 21st Century, it is essential that we engage with each other seriously and talk to each other extremely frankly and candidly,” he said.

He said at the Wuhan summit both the leaders concluded that there are many factors of commonality between India and China and that they need to expand on such convergences.

“Naturally, like any two countries, there are also differences between us. We can only resolve these differences, over time, if we speak to each other about them in an open manner,” he said.

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