China raises J&K reorganisation issue during Jaishankar’s visit; India says it’s an internal matter

China on Monday raised the issue of reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories during the visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar as also ‘rising tensions’ between India and Pakistan, but Beijing was told that the decision was an internal matter of New Delhi and the changes had no bearing on Islamabad.

Jaishankar told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during their talks that there was no implication of the legislative changes for either the external boundaries of India or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

Referring to Pakistan, he said the changes did not impact the Line of Control (LoC) and “Chinese side should base its assessment on realities where India Pakistan relations are concerned.”

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Jaishankar said that India, as a responsible power, had shown restraint in face of “provocative Pakistani rhetoric and actions” and has always stood for the normalisation of ties “in an atmosphere free of terror.”

India has scrapped Article 370, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and reorganised Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir with legislative assembly, and Ladakh with legislative.

China had earlier objected to Ladakh being made a Union Territory but India had said that that it does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.

An External Affairs Ministry release said that during the bilateral meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister “brought up developments pertaining to legislation passed recently by the Indian Parliament on Jammu and 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,” it said.

Jaishankar, who was on his first visit to China as External Affairs Minister, said India was not raising any additional territorial claims. “The Chinese concerns in this regard were, therefore, misplaced,” he said.

He also said the future of its relationship with China will depend on mutual sensitivity to “each other’s core concerns” and properly managing differences was vital to the bilateral relationship becoming a factor of stability in an uncertain world. The leaders of two countries, he said, had agreed that “differences should not become disputes.”

He conveyed that so far as 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.

Jaishankar, who visited China for the second meeting of the High-Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges, met Chinese 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.

He later had “detailed and productive discussions” with 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 second informal summit later this year and celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

Jaishankar 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,” he said.

The minister said that 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,” he said.

Noting that there had been progress in the overall relationship, since the Wuhan Informal Summit, he said the two countries have 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,” he said.

Referring to economic relationship, Jaishankar said it had seen some progress but the increasing trade deficit was a matter of concern.

He said the Chinese side should take steps to address this issue by measures such as enabling greater access for our pharmaceutical and IT products and services in the domestic Chinese market.

(With ANI inputs)

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