DAYS AFTER China objected to India’s decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and set up a separate Union Territory of Ladakh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday.
Sources told The Indian Express that if Beijing raises the J&K issue, the Indian side will be very categorical in its response that it is an internal matter. Jaishankar’s visit was scheduled before the government announced its decision on J&K.
Jaishankar arrived in Beijing on Sunday, days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi travelled to Beijing, on August 9, to garner China’s support for Islamabad’s bid to take New Delhi’s decision to revoke J&K’s special status to the UN Security Council.
An official statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry after Wang’s talks with Qureshi identified both India and Pakistan as “friendly neighbours” and urged the two countries to resolve the Kashmir issue through UN resolutions and “bilateral agreement”. There was no reference in the statement to China’s response to Pakistan’s decision to approach the UNSC.
Last week, China objected to the formation of Ladakh as a Union Territory, 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 response, the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.” India has maintained that J&K is its integral part, and the issue is strictly internal to the country.
Jaishankar, who is the first Indian minister to tour China in the second term of the Narendra Modi government, will hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The two 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.
They are 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 the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Officials said Jaishankar’s talks with Wang would cover a wide range of issues, including arrangements for President Xi Jinping’s visit to India later this year for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is expected to set the tone for the bilateral ties between the two countries for the next five years.