Kashmir may not be a “major topic” during the informal talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping likely to be held next month in India, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Tuesday. Instead, border issues between India and China and issues that encompass more “strategic thinking” may be part of the talks, she said. Last week, a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh was diffused after senior Army officers on both sides held discussions on the same day.
In response to a question from The Indian Express on whether Kashmir is likely to be discussed, Hua said: “I am not sure. For this kind of informal summit, I think it is better to leave the leaders much time to discuss whatever they would like to discuss. Those issues of strategic thinking of broad sense of the picture. I think for those things like Kashmir, I don’t think it will be a major topic occupying the talks, that is my understanding. But for the leaders, they will be free to talk about whatever they like, that is my understanding.”
Though reports have said that the second informal summit between Modi and Xi is likely to take place between October 10-12 near Chennai, Hua said during an interaction with journalists at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs here that she was not in a position to confirm details.
Hua was responding to questions about the tensions between India and Pakistan which spiked after New Delhi on August 5 scrapped the special status accorded to Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories. India has strictly maintained that the Kashmir issue was its “internal matter.”
Hua said that China’s “official position” was to maintain that Kashmir was an issue between India and Pakistan and “we don’t want to see war.”
“I hope since both India and Pakistan are good neighbours of China, they could be in peaceful terms with each other and mostly India and Pakistan can try their best, make their best efforts to resolve issues peacefully through negotiations. We don’t want to see any war. As you mentioned, the US relations with Iran, we hope the Indian relations with Pakistan could be much better than the US and Iran. Because they are neighbours, there is no reason why they cannot get along with each other very well. We hope the issue can be resolved in a peaceful way and not through war,” she said.
Regarding border issues between India and China, Hua said: “I understand we have established quite a good mechanism, and the two sides have very fruitful and smooth channels for communication. One thing is China has always kept our word and we never wanted to do anything that could harm the mutual trust between China and India and we hope to see the same goodwill from the Indian side.”
She said that this was essential to “work together to safeguard, maintain, and make sure the border areas are kept peaceful and stable so that we can increase the mutual trust and stay focused on things that deepen and broaden our cooperation, so the two people can benefit from these kinds of high level mutual trust and cooperation.”