On the backdrop of India’s decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir and scrap the state’s special status, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told China that any bilateral differences should not become disputes. Jaishankar’s reaction came after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said it was “very closely” following the India-Pakistan tensions over Kashmir and its “ramifications” while asking New Delhi to play a “constructive role” for regional peace and stability.
A week ago, China had objected to India’s decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir and set up a separate Union Territory of Ladakh. It also expressed “serious concern” about the current situation in the region and said “relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently”.
Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to China, called on Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and had delegation-level talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
In his opening remarks, Jaishankar said, “As you know India-China relationship has a very unique place in global politics. Two years ago, our leaders recognised the reality and reached consensus at Astana that at a time of global uncertainty, India, China relationship should be a factor of stability.”
“To ensure that it was important that differences between us, if any, should not become disputes. It was a matter of great satisfaction that at the Wuhan summit last year, there was a very deep, constructive and open exchange of views between our leaders. We have seen the impact of that on the bilateral relations since,” he said, referring to the summit meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi.
Jaishankar’s visit comes 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.
On his part, Wang said China and India had important responsibilities in upholding regional peace and stability. “On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, we can have mutually beneficial cooperation. This is in the fundamental interest and long term interest of our two peoples and also contribute to world peace and human progress,” PTI quoted Wang as saying.
Without explicitly mentioning the recent developments in Kashmir, Wang said, “When it comes to the recent tensions between India and Pakistan and the possible ramifications, we follow these developments very closely. We hope that India would also play a constructive role in regional peace and stability.”
(With inputs from PTI)