Beijing, August 12: India and China on Monday began key day-long talks in Beijing in the backdrop of recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir with Beijing saying it is “closely following” tensions in the region and ramifications.
New Delhi on its part reiterated the consensus reached between the leadership of the two countries that bilateral differences should not become disputes.
Heading the talks for India, external affairs minister S Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that India-China ties had a unique place in global politics and the two countries have been sensitive to each other’s core concerns.
“As you know, the India-China relationship has a very unique place in global politics. Two years ago our leaders (PM Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping) recognised that reality and reached a consensus at Astana that at a time of global uncertainty, India-China relationship be a factor of stability, and to ensure that it was important that differences between us, if any, should not become disputes,” Jaishankar said during his opening remarks ahead of the delegation-level meeting with Wang.
Modi and Xi had met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana in Kazakhstan 2017.
“It was a matter of great of satisfaction that at the Wuhan summit last year there was very deep and constructive and open exchange of views between our two leaders. We have seen the impact of that in our bilateral relations also,” he said.
Jaishankar added that while the leaders will give guidance to the growth of the relationship, it was important to build public support for bilateral ties.
“…it is important that to build public support for the relationship as well and we have done that over the years by being sensitive to each other’s core concerns, by managing our differences properly, and by working on the positive convergences that we have on the relationship. I hope that today the discussions we have help us translate those convergences into many more shared activities and collaborations,” the Indian foreign minister added.
Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi referred to India-Pakistan tensions and told Jaishankar that India should play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability.
“When it comes to the regional tensions between India and Pakistan and possible ramifications we follow these developments very closely. We hope that India would also play a constructive role for regional peace and stability,” Wang told Jaishankar before beginning the second round of meeting with him on Monday.
Jaishankar’s two-day visit to China was finalised before New Delhi revoked the special status to J&K and bifurcated the state into two union territories on August 5. Beijing is nevertheless expected to raise its concerns about the situation, especially because its all-weather ally Pakistan already sent its foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, last week to discuss the issue with Wang. China has called India’s decision to change Ladakh’s status to a union territory (UT) “unacceptable”.
China had responded with two statements after India announced its decisions on J&K last week.In one, Beijing objected to the formation of Ladakh as UT, saying it undermined its territorial sovereignty. In the second statement on Kashmir, it expressed “serious concern” about the current situation in the region and said “relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently”.
Later in the day, the two foreign ministers will also co-chair the second meeting of the “High-Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges”. The first meeting was held in New Delhi last year.
Earlier in the day, Jaishankar met vice-president, Wang Qishan, who said he expected the Indian minister to further boost Sino-India bilateral ties.
During his visit, Jaishankar will also finalise preparations for the upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping to India in October. (Courtesy: HT)