China says joint launch of stamp cancelled due to lack of feedback from India

China said on Wednesday that it cancelled the joint launch of a commemorative stamp with India because New Delhi hadn’t given its feedback on the matter within the time frame agreed to by the two sides.

The cancellation of the launch of the stamp marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties had created a flutter on Tuesday because it occurred against the backdrop of the nearly eight-month standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“Regarding cancellation of joint issue of commemorative stamp to mark 70th [anniversary of diplomatic ties between] #China & #India, the reason is Indian side had not given feedback before launch time agreed by both sides,” Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said in a tweet.

“China State Post Bureau made the notice according to customary practices,” she said, without giving further details.

There was no official response to the development from Indian officials.

India and China haven’t organised any of the 70 events they had planned to mark 70 years of diplomatic ties. Each side was to have held 35 events, and the activities were initially put off due to the Covid-19 pandemic before being totally derailed by the border standoff that began in May.

When the two sides exchanged messages between their presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers on April 1 to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the external affairs ministry had said in a statement that they were holding talks on “commemorating this historic anniversary in a manner truly reflective of its significance”. It also said the two sides were working to jointly design a logo to mark the celebrations.

Chinese state media had quoted a statement posted on the postal service’s website on Tuesday to report the cancellation of the joint launch of the stamp. “The State Post Office has decided to cancel the planned joint issue of stamps between China and India in the 2020 special stamp-issue programme,” the brief statement said.

The launch of the stamp and the other events had been agreed on during the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Chennai in October 2019.

Though the standoff began in May, diplomatic ties have been particularly tense since June, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in Galwan Valley after being attacked by Chinese troops using rocks and clubs. Beijing hasn’t revealed the casualties of the People’s Liberation Army.

Several rounds of talks between diplomats and military commanders – the last one held on November 8 – have not helped push forward disengagement and de-escalation along the LAC.

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