China and India should be partners rather than rivals, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said on Friday, adding that the two countries should build mutual trust and should not allow differences to interfere with bilateral relations. However, claiming that China was "neither a warlike state nor an assertive country", he said, "The right and wrong of what recently happened at the Galwan Valley is very clear."
The question over the border left over by history is "sensitive and complicated" and there was a need to find "a fair and reasonable solution mutually acceptable" through equal consultation and peaceful negotiation, he said in a video statement that came as the two countries held another round of diplomatic talks.
In a video titled "Implement Consensus and Handle Differences Properly to Bring China-India Relations Back on the Right Track" posted on the Chinese embassy's website and social media, Mr Sun spoke of disruptions in the bilateral relationship and outlined five steps to clarify "some fundamental points".
He said China and India need peace rather than confrontation, need to pursue win-win cooperation instead of a zero-sum game, need to build trust, rather than suspicion and relations should move forward rather than backward.
He said pending an ultimate settlement to the boundary question, the two sides have agreed to work together to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
The Chinese ambassador mentioned the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley, that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and unconfirmed casualties on the Chinese side, and said it was a situation both countries will not like to see.
"On June 15, there was an incident causing casualties at the Galwan Valley in the western sector of the China-India border. It was a situation neither China nor India would like to see," he said.
The ambassador said China has all along advocated that peace is of paramount importance and it was "neither a warlike state nor an assertive country".
"The right and wrong of what recently happened at the Galwan Valley is very clear. China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and ensure the peace and tranquillity in the border areas," he said.
Mr Sun referred to the conversation between Special Representatives of the China-India Boundary Question, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval last week and the positive consensus reached on easing the current border situation.
"I believe China and India have the wisdom and capability to properly handle differences and not fall into the trap of conflict. We should seek common development as partners rather than opponents or adversaries. Why should we fight against each other that will only hurt those close to us and gladden the foes?" he added.
He also China-India relations have gone far beyond the bilateral scope and have global strategic significance in the backdrop of the current international landscape.
As two major neighbouring countries, it is natural that China and India may have some differences and the two countries have been holding dialogues and negotiations to manage differences, he said.
The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in the bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last eight weeks. The tension escalated manifold after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 that stunned the country, stoking popular anger against China, and led to weeks of talks between senior military officials on how to ease tensions.