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Visit of the External Affairs Minister to Beijing (August 12, 2019)

August 12, 2019

External Affairs Minister (EAM) paid an official visit to China on 12 August for the 2nd meeting of the High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges. He had a cordial meeting with Vice President Wang Qishan in the morning where he discussed the evolving global situation and the larger rebalancing that reflected the rise of India and China as two large developing countries. External Affairs Minister thereafter had detailed and productive discussions with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. They discussed the full gamut of issues relating to the international situation, regional aspects and the bilateral relations including the visit of President Xi Jinping to India for the 2nd Informal Summit later this year and celebrating the 70th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

EAM noted that since the Wuhan Informal Summit, there had been progress in the overall relationship. The two countries agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquility in border areas was essential for smooth development of their relations. For this, the two armed forces had enhanced communication and were implementing various confidence building measures. The economic relationship had seen some progress but the increasing trade deficit was a matter of concern. It was emphasised that the Chinese side should take steps to address this issue including by enabling greater access for our pharmaceutical and IT products and services in the domestic Chinese market.

EAM also stressed that the future of the India-China relationship will obviously depend on mutual sensitivity to each other’s core concerns. It is natural, both as neighbours and large developing economies that there would be issues in our ties. Properly managing differences is therefore vital. As agreed by the Leaders in Astana, differences should not become disputes. That is how India-China relations can remain a factor of stability in an uncertain world. The positive direction of ties after the Wuhan Summit had opened up a world of new convergences. Exploiting this and taking bilateral ties to a new level will require strong public support in both societies.

During the bilateral meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister also brought up developments pertaining to legislation passed recently by the Indian Parliament on Jammu & Kashmir. EAM conveyed that this was an internal matter for India. The issue related to changes in a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and was the sole prerogative of the country. The legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-economic development. There was no implication for either the external boundaries of India or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. India was not raising any additional territorial claims. The Chinese concerns in this regard were therefore misplaced. EAM also conveyed that so far as the India China boundary question was concerned the two sides had agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the Boundary Question on the basis of the 2005 Political Parameters and Guiding Principles.

The Chinese Foreign Minister also referred to rising tensions between India and Pakistan as a result of these changes. EAM emphasised that these changes had no bearing on Pakistan as it was an internal matter. It did not impact the LoC. Where India Pakistan relations are concerned, Chinese side should base its assessment on realities. India, as a responsible power, had shown restraint in face of provocative Pakistani rhetoric and actions. India has always stood for normalisation of the ties in an atmosphere free of terror.

August 12, 2019

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