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India, China to hold talks today: Azhar’s UN ban, NSG bid remain key issues

By Newsd
Updated on :
Source: indiatimes

Chief bureaucrats from India and China will hold the first round of the advanced strategic dialogue in Beijing on Wednesday in the midst of a diplomatic chill and careful optimism about a thaw as the year passes.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar flew into Beijing from Colombo on Tuesday. He met China’s topmost diplomat, state councillor Yang Jiechi, within hours.  Significantly, he was India’s longest-serving envoy to China between 2009 and 2013.

However, the emphasis will be on Wednesday, when Jaishankar walks into one of the numerous ornate halls of the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, a beautiful complex and former house of Mao Zedong, to meet executive vice-foreign minister Zhang Yesui.

The 64-year-old Yesui and Jaishankar may converse a gamut of issues. But, principally, Jaishankar is likely to raise two key hitches that hit ties last year – China blocking India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and confronting India’s repeated efforts to get Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar listed by the UN’s al-Qaeda and Islamic State committee.

China said there was no accord among UN Security Council members as India hasn’t given “solid evidence” against Azhar, only last week. He is suspected to mastermind last year’s terror attack on Pathankot airbase.

On the NSG, China wants to uphold the sanctity of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As India is not a signatory to the pact, divulging it into the NSG would spell doom for the NPT system. China may say the same thing during the strategic dialogue as well.

On the other hand, China could raise the issue of India’s unwillingness to come on board for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Xi Jinping’s determined, multi-billion dollar connectivity project over land and sea. It is also likely to highlight New Delhi’s age-old diplomatic choice to follow the “One-China” policy.

The talk itself is a sign that the two nations are willing to engage. “It is particularly encouraging that the leaderships of China and India are aware of the important significance of a stable China-India relationship, having the consensus for an improved relationship between the two countries,” Guo Suiyuan, South Asia expert at the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, told Hindustan Times.

“The strategic dialogue may open a new channel for improving understanding. It is much needed at this point of time for the healthy development of China-India relationship.”


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