External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said that India and China “should not allow differences to hamper their bilateral relationship” even as Beijing slammed New Delhi’s move on Kashmir, scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.
Under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed the special category status.
Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to China, conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that both sides should make a conscious effort to ease any tensions to ensure that “differences between us, if any, should not become disputes”.
He further said that India-China ties have a unique place in global politics and the relationship should be a factor of global stability.
His meeting with the Chinese official comes days after New Delhi firmly told Beijing that the revocation of special status for Kashmir and the creation of Ladakh Union Territory were an “internal matter”.
In his remarks, Wang said China is closely following the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan and urged New Delhi to maintain peace and stability.
He further stressed on the need to abide by the UN Charter, respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and address disputes through dialogue.
“We will continue to utillise the special representative mechanism over the boundary question to seek early harvest in boundary negotiation,” he added.
The Chinese foreign minister further said that both the countries need to strengthen their cooperation mechanisms including more defence exchanges to build more practical results. “We are of the view that we need to further deepen our practical, economic and trade cooperation.”
Beijing also appreciated New Delhi’s concerns over trade imbalances and said that it stands ready to continue to provide facilities to Indian exports to China.
Opening the address, Wang welcomed Jaishankar saying that the Indian EAM had served as the Ambassador of India to China for many years making positive and active contribution to Indo-Sino relations.
Meanwhile, Jaishankar, after his meeting with Wang said that some suggestions were made by the Chinese side to expand the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra which India has deeply been appreciative of.
The foreign minister further said that both the countries have also agreed to organise 100 activities to further strengthen people-to-people ties.
Ahead of his meeting with Wang, Jaishankar on Monday met Vice President of China, Wang Qishan, in Beijing.
China has been critical of India’s move on Kashmir calling it a “unilateral decision”.
It has also “assured Pakistan of its support and commitment” and announced that it supported Islamabad’s decision to approach the UN Security Council in the wake of India’s decision to scrap Article 370 of its Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
An official statement on this was issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry after a meeting between visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday.
Wang stressed that as all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan have understood and supported each other on issues concerning “our respective core interests”.
Earlier on Wednesday, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing had said that Jammu and Kashmir was an “internationally recognized disputed territory”, and criticised the Indian government for unilaterally revoking its special status.
He also stressed on the need for compliance with international laws and hoped that both Pakistan and India would “take a suitable decision for the betterment of the Kashmiri people”.
The Indian Parliament on Tuesday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution and approved bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to China to co-chair the second meeting of the India-China ‘High-Level Mechanism’ on cultural and people-to-people exchanges and also to prepare for the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, to be held in India in October.