Jaishankar begins China visit with talks with top diplomat

S. Jaishankar  

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar began a high profile visit to China with talks with State Councillor Yang Jiechi, ahead of an omnibus strategic dialogue which was upgraded last year amid the controversy related to a ban on Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar, and Beijing’s resistance to New Delhi’s membership to the elite Nuclear Supplier’s Group.

Mr. Yang, a former foreign minister enjoys top diplomatic status in the Chinese official hierarchy. He is also China’s Special Representative for the boundary talks which are headed from the Indian side by the National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval. Mr. Jaishankar will begin a new round of the strategic dialogue with China’s Executive vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui on Wednesday.

The format was modified last year during Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to India, following China’s repeated “technical holds” to designate Masood Azhar an international terrorism under the UN Security Council resolution 1267. It was also decided then that a separate official level forum would be established by the two Foreign Ministries to especially to discuss India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

During his stay, Mr. Jaishankar is expected to call on Foreign Minister Wang. While the Azhar issue and the NSG are likely to be taken up, diplomatic sources said that all other items on the Sino-Indian relations can fall under the strategic dialogue framework. India has concerns regarding market access to China to reduce the balance of payments gap between the two countries. China’s investments for the development of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will pass through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) is another area that is holding up full development of ties.

The geopolitical landscape is also changing rapidly with a change of guard in the United States, the emergence of a multipolar world — a situation that was well recognised in New Delhi during this year’s Raisina Dialogue.

Later this year, China will hold the BRICS summit. Leaders of the two countries are also expected to meet in Astana during the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Besides, China is hosting a high profile Belt and Road summit in May, where the guest list remains to be finalised.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 11:44:14 AM |

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