‘Challenges’ had overpowered vast opportunities in Sino-India ties, Indian envoy Misri tells Chinese FM

Beijing, Dec 6 (PTI) Outgoing Indian envoy to China Vikram Misri on Monday had a virtual farewell call on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during which he said that “certain challenges” had overpowered the vast opportunities in the bilateral ties last year and hoped that with continued communication the two sides would be able to resolve the current difficulties.

“Our relations comprised both opportunities and challenges, and even though certain challenges since last year had overpowered the vast opportunities in the relationship, Misri told Wang, in an apparent reference to the protracted standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Misri, who has been transferred to the headquarters, is due to travel to New Delhi later this month. His successor is yet to be named.

The Ambassador was hopeful that with continued communication at all levels – political, diplomatic and military, the two sides would be able to resolve the current difficulties and take the relationship forward in a positive direction, a press release from the Indian Embassy here said.

Though the press release did not elaborate the challenges , the envoy was apparently referring to the continued military standoff in Eastern Ladakh which brought the bilateral relations to nearly standstill.

Ambassador, in particular, highlighted the role played by External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in issuing appropriate guidance to achieve full and complete resolution of the current issues at India-China border areas, and underlined his continued hope that complete resolution of these issues as per the understanding between the two Foreign Ministers would be achieved soon, which in turn would help relations to return towards normalisation, which was the common goal of both sides , the release said.

The Ladakh standoff began in May last year when China moved over 60,000 of its troops which were mobilised for exercises into Pangong Tso and other areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

After a prolonged standoff, the troops disengaged from the most contentious area of Pangong Tso. As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra in July but the talks to workout disengagement from the remaining areas including Hot Springs have not succeeded so far.

Misri had the virtual call on as the Chinese Foreign Minister was in Zhejiang province to meet his visiting counterparts from the South East Asian countries, officials said.

For his part, Wang said he also shared Misri’s belief that the commonalities far outweighed the differences in our bilateral relations, and expressed confidence that our relations would be able to make progress in the future,” the release said.

“Wang appreciated Ambassador Misri’s role in promoting and managing the relationship in the last three years and conveyed his best wishes for Misri’s future assignment, and expressed hope that he would continue to make contributions to India-China relations, it said.

Misri conveyed his appreciation for the assistance and cooperation extended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the discharge of his official duties in China.

A 1989-batch India Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Misri took charge here in January 2019 when India and China made efforts to deepen their cooperation in various areas, leaving behind the 2017 Doklam standoff which was the most serious military face-off in decades.

But the relations nosedived with the East Ladakh military standoff.

Before his appointment to China, Misri served as India’s envoy in Myanmar.

Earlier, he had served in various capacities at the headquarters of the MEA as well as in the Prime Minister’s Office.

He had also served in various Indian Missions in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Misri, who hails from Srinagar, is married to Dolly Misri.