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Days before Quad, Beijing to Delhi: Not rivals…don’t undercut each other

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As New Delhi prepares to participate in the first ever meeting of the leaders of the Quadrilateral grouping likely on March 12, Beijing Sunday said that China and India should stop “undercutting” each other, shed mutual “suspicion” and create “enabling conditions” by expanding bilateral cooperation to resolve the border issue.

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made these remarks at his annual press conference in Beijing —seen as a signal to New Delhi as it plans to join the Quad meeting this week between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Japan PM Yoshihide Suga and Australian PM Scott Morrison.

Wang was speaking on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s Parliament.

Beijing views the Quad with suspicion. Three years ago, Wang had dismissed its revival as a “headline-grabbing” idea that, like “foam on the sea”, would get attention but “soon dissipate”. He called for the “the Dragon and Elephant to not fight but dance”.

Since then, quite some water has flowed under the bilateral bridge – the protracted standoff along the LAC, a clash in Galwan and the first de-escalation last month. Sunday’s remarks also come after Wang and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a 75-minute phone conversation February 26, when they agreed to establish a hotline — “for timely communication and exchange of views”.

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