China has signalled that it is according top priority to its engagement with the Indian Left parties, following a call by Sitaram Yechury, the CPI (M) general secretary, on Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao. Mr. Yechury, who was in the Chinese capital to participate in an international conference of Asian political parties, called on President Xi last Thursday. In a conversation with The Hindu , following the meeting, Mr. Yechury said that President Xi conveyed to him that the Communist Party of China (CPC) highly valued its relations with the CPI (M).
Mr. Xi added that the CPI (M) was a strong votary for driving the relationship between China and India, including people-to-people ties. Mr. Yechury said that his detailed conversation with China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao focused on the ongoing economic transition in China. Mr. Li pointed out that the CPC was developing ties with all Indian political parties including the CPI (M). Highly placed sources told The Hindu that the Chinese Vice President, without mentioning Pakistan, told Mr. Yechury that Beijing’s ties with other countries would not stand in the way of the development of Sino-Indian ties. Mr. Li is expected to visit India next month at the invitation of the Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.
At the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), which had China’s Silk Road connectivity projects as its core theme, Mr. Yechury had advocated convergence between China’s Maritime Silk Road (MSR) concept and India’s Maritime Spice Route. He stressed that China’s “one belt one road” concept, of which the MSR is a part, cannot “comprehensively realise the inherent potential of the region unless the Maritime Spice Route is simultaneously revived”. During his intervention, the CPI (M) general secretary had also counselled a visiting Pakistani delegation led by the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto, to refrain from internationalising the Kashmir issue at the conference.