Beijing is likely to raise the issue of the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir at the coming talks between India and China on the boundary dispute in Mumbai on 21 December, diplomatic sources said here on Monday.
The talks would be held between Special Representatives (SR) of the two countries. While National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval is the SR on the Indian side, Foreign Minister Wang Yi is China’s SR for the talks.
Sources said Wang was expected to raise the J&K Issue because its bifurcation has effectively challenged China’s sovereignty. “India’s decision to include some of China’s territory into administrative jurisdiction has challenged Beijing’s sovereignty,” they added, ostensibly referring to Aksai Chin in Ladakh.
The talks were scheduled to be held in September but had to be postponed because of scheduling issues. India was also not enthused since Wang had clubbed his proposed visit to India with his trip to Pakistan. Also, ties between the two nations at that point had come under strain because of India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution in J & K.
This will be the first high-level engagement between India and China after the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mamallapuram in October.
Sources said both Doval and Wang would look to take the development partnership forward in keeping with the guidance provided by the top leaders of the two countries. Both Modi and President Xi had underlined the importance of the dialogue between the two SRs for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the border.
Sources acknowledged that the lingering boundary dispute was a cause of distrust between the two countries and, therefore, a solution to it must be expedited. Till then, the two countries should ensure that differences between them do not become disputes.
The last round of talks between the two SRs was held at Chengdu (China) in 2018 when Doval and Wang had directed the bilateral working mechanism on consultation and coordination for border affairs to work for more confidence-building measures (CBMs) which could promote communication between Indian and Chinese border personnel.