Sino-India border tensions: EU says it supports efforts to maintain dialogue channel for peaceful solution
New Delhi, July 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed about the developments on the Sino-India border during the India-EU summit, the European Council president said on Wednesday, asserting that the 27-member bloc supports all efforts to maintain a channel of dialogue for peaceful solution.
European Council President Charles Michel made the remarks after the 15th EU-India summit. While the Indian side was led by Prime Minister Modi, the European Union delegation was headed by Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the virtual summit.
Asked at a press conference whether Chinese aggressiveness and the recent incident at the Sino-India border was discussed, Michel answered in the affirmative.
"Probably you know, a few weeks ago, we had a video conference summit with Chinese authorities. The relationship between the EU and China is complex. We need to tackle different issues and topics. And indeed we are in favour of a peaceful solution," Michel said.
"Prime Minister Modi had the occasion also to inform us about the latest developments regarding this incident with China and we support all the efforts in order to maintain a channel of dialogue in order to find peaceful solutions," he said.
Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for over eight weeks since May 5.
The tension escalated manifold after the violent clashes in Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.
However, following a series of diplomatic and military talks, the two sides began a mutual disengagement process on July 6 and withdrew troops from most of the friction points.
On whether India is more strategic for the European Union than China, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said China and India were both important to the bloc, but both were very different.
"If you look at the topics we have with China and with India -- common interest is the fight against climate change. China and India are very important if you want to be successful in the fight against climate change," she said.
She said the EU has strong trade relations with both countries, but in very different fields.
"The difference is indeed that we share with India that we are democracies. We can relate to being democracies and defending our values," she said at the press conference.
Asked if the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the protests against the legislation were discussed, Michel said, "In the EU Parliament, it was an important topic in the last few months. We also had the occasion today to raise this topic with the prime minister."
"We trust the Indian institutions. We understand that the Supreme Court will have a role to play in order to assess this legislation," he said.
He said the two sides have resolved to continue a strong dialogue on the question of human rights which are important for both India and the EU.