‘Differences Shouldn’t Become Disputes’: EAM Jaishankar in China

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to China, co-chaired the second meeting of the India-China 'High-Level Mechanism' on cultural and people-to-people exchanges with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Monday, 12 August.

In his opening remarks during the meeting with Wang, considered a confidant of President Xi Jinping, Jaishankar said, “We reached a consensus in Astana two years ago that at a time when the world is more uncertain, our relationship should be a factor of stability,”

Responding to Beijing’s concerns over Kashmir, said that “It was important that differences between us, if any, should not become disputes.”

Jaishankar’s Chinese counterpart also pitched for mutually beneficial cooperation. “China and India, as two big nations, also have important responsibilities for upholding the regional peace and stability,” he said.

Without mentioning Kashmir, Wang addressed the issue.

"“When it comes to the recent tensions between India and Pakistan and the possible ramifications, we follow these developments very closely. " - Wang Yi, Chinese foreign minister

“We hope that India would also play a constructive role for the regional peace and stability,” he added.

Addressing the media, Jaishankar declared the talks successful and thanked his hosts, saying that the meeting was “productive”.

The foreign minister had landed in China on Sunday. He met with the Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan before the bilateral talks with Wang.

He is also scheduled to address the media at the closing ceremony of the 4th India-China High Level Media Forum being organised by China Public Diplomacy Association and attend a cultural gala being held by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

In his address Wang also said that “good preparations” should be made for the second India-China informal summit for which President Xi Jinping’s will visit India later this year.

Jaishankar’s visit, the first one to China after the Modi government began its second term, is also taking place in the aftermath of India’s decision to revoke special status to Jammu and Kashmir and its division into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

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The Article 370 Context

Jaishankar's visit comes days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi travelled to Beijing on 9 August to seek China's support for his country's attempts to take India's move to revoke special status to Kashmir to the UN Security Council.

India has maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and the issue is strictly internal to the country.

Also Read: J&K, Ladakh to Become Separate Union Territories on 31 October

After India's move, China issued two separate statements outlining its position on Ladakh and, Jammu and Kashmir.

In one statement, China objected to the formation of Ladakh as Union Territory by India, saying it undermined its territorial sovereignty.

It also expressed "serious concern" about the current situation in the region and said "relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently".

In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.”

On China's comment on Ladakh, Kumar said India and China have agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question on the basis of the 'Political Parameters and Guiding Principles' for the settlement of India-China boundary question.

Pending such a settlement, both sides have agreed to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas on the basis of the relevant agreements, Kumar said in New Delhi.

Also Read: As J&K Tensions Escalate, What Next Between India & Pakistan?

An official statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued after Wang's talks with Qureshi identified both India and Pakistan as "friendly neighbours” and wanted them to resolve the Kashmir issue through UN resolutions and "bilateral agreement", in an apparent reference to the Simla agreement.

However, there was no reference in the statement about China's response to Pakistan's decision to approach UNSC.

(With inputs from PTI)

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