Fresh strategic dialogue with China

India to discuss 'friction points' with neighbour

Fresh strategic dialogue with China

India and China will launch a strategic dialogue next week to add momentum to the complex bilateral relations, which were beset with new irritants over the past few months.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will meet China’s executive vice foreign minister Zhang Yesui in Beijing on February 22 to launch the strategic dialogue. The new mechanism for bilateral engagement at the level of top diplomats is being finally launched almost six months after it was agreed upon by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in August last year.

Jaishankar and Zhang are likely to discuss “friction points” between India and China, apart from exploring ways to build on the convergence in views of the two nations on several issues.

They will try to take “a holistic view of India-China relations” and explore how both sides “can accommodate each other’s concerns,” Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said in New Delhi.

The strategic dialogue will be held just a week after China criticised India for hosting a delegation of parliamentarians from Taiwan. The state-owned media of China even accused India of being a “provocateur” and warned that New Delhi was playing with “fire” by hosting the delegation from Taiwan.

New Delhi will use the dialogue to once again nudge Beijing to shed its policy of shielding terrorists based in Pakistan from United Nations’ sanctions.

Jaishankar will convey to Zhang that India and China could not afford to have divergent views on the issue of combating the menace of terrorism, sources told Deccan Herald.

India has long been maintaining a non-committal stand on supporting the Belt-and-Road Initiative of China, arguing that it had not been consulted before the mega-plan was conceived.

Top diplomats of India and China are likely to discuss the issue in Beijing. However, Jaishankar will make it clear that New Delhi could never support the Belt-and-Road Initiative, as one of its key component is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The CPEC is proposed to pass through areas, which India claims as its own and accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying it.

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