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Amid Row Over Kashmir Comment, Chinese FM Wang to Meet NSA Doval Today; Boundary Issue on Agenda

By: Manoj Gupta

CNN-News18

Last Updated: March 25, 2022, 07:33 IST

File Photo of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Reuters)

File Photo of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Reuters)

Wang Yi's visit comes at a time when India strongly rejected his remarks on Kashmir during his speech at the OIC opening ceremony in Pakistan

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in New Delhi on Thursday making it the first trip by a senior Chinese leader to India after the eastern Ladakh military standoff began in May 2020. Wang will be meeting External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on Friday.

Sources told CNN-News18, NSA Doval will meet the Chinese foreign minister at 9.30 am on Friday. The discussions will be mainly related to issues of global and strategic importance and regional cooperation. The two senior leaders will also discuss the China-India boundary issues. After talks with Doval, Wang will meet Jaishankar at 11 am. He will then leave for Nepal. Nepal had announced that Wang will visit Kathmandu from March 25 to 27.

Earlier in the day, top sources said the Indian government was hopeful of Wang’s visit and meeting with the EAM and NSA. While it is unlikely Wang will not be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said there are strong possibilities that India may agree to informal talks between the PM and Chinese President Xi Jinping at some stage.

The senior Chinese leader’s visit comes after Wang’s comments referring to Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Pakistan was strongly rejected by India as uncalled for. Wang was on a two-day trip to Pakistan on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC as a special guest.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We reject the uncalled reference to India by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his speech at the opening ceremony.” He said other countries, including China, have no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters and that they should note that India refrains from public judgement of their internal issues.

Sources said that Yi’s visit will be significant due to the diplomatic and security bilateral discussions between the two countries. Delegation-level talks will also take place between representatives from both countries, they maintained.

Relations between India and China became fraught again in June 2020, when 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed during a high-altitude clash in the Pangong lake areas.

India and China have held a series of diplomatic and military talks in the last one-and-half years to resolve the eastern Ladakh row. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Wang have held several rounds of talks in Moscow and Dushanbe to defuse tensions.

Jaishankar and Wang held extensive talks in Moscow on the sidelines of a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in September 2020. The talks led to a five-point agreement to resolve the Ladakh border dispute. The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.

In July last year, the two foreign ministers also held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of another SCO meeting in Tajik capital city Dushanbe with a focus on the border row. They again met in Dushanbe in September.

In a veiled comment against the United States, Wang earlier this month said “some forces” have always sought to create conflict between China and India.

Jaishankar and Wang are likely to discuss the Ukraine crisis, according to reports. Neither China nor India has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia, which refers to its actions as a “special military operation”, counts both China and India as friendly powers, having maintained diplomatic and economic ties since the Cold War era.

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first published:March 24, 2022, 21:00 IST
last updated:March 25, 2022, 07:33 IST