External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who is on a pre-scheduled three-day visit to China, made it clear that Kashmir is an internal matter, though both sides primarily focussed their talks on the recent developments in Kashmir and Ladakh. The visit of Jaishankar, the first Indian minister to tour China after the Modi government began its second term, is taking place in the aftermath of India’s decision to revoke special status to Jammu and Kashmir and its division into two Union Territories -Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
An External Affairs source confirmed that India stated that we agreed differences on Ladakh which should not become disputes and also asked Beijing to maintain the status quo on Ladakh issues as dissents on Ladakh could not be reflected on bilateral ties.
The focus of this meeting is to peacefully conclude the 2nd informal meeting of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which will be held in India on later this year.
Besides the two leaders meeting, External Affairs Minister co-chaired a meeting of the India-China High Level Mechanism (HLM) along with his Chinese counterpart. The HLM aims to increase people to people ties and enhance engagement in areas such as tourism, art, films, media, culture, sports. MEA wrote in a statement; “The 2nd HLM meeting and discuss new initiatives for enhancing people to people exchanges between our two countries.”
The foreign minister appreciated the suggestions that came from the Chinese side on the expanding the Mansarovar yatra. The three-day meeting had focussed on the following exchanges between the two countries: Promoting cultural exchanges for the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, management of archaeological heritage sites, Enhanced cooperation in the field of traditional medicine where both countries have a rich knowledge with the sole objective of developing traditional medicine, promote exchanges between national sports associations, sportspersons and youth for strengthening cooperation on international sports events etc.
Ahead of the visit Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said, “China is a very important partner. There are many channels available to us to discuss all bilateral issues.” Before the Ministerial level discussions, Indian Prime Minister had met President of China on the sideline of SCO summit at Kyrghystan.
China maintained distance over the allegation by Pakistan over the scapping of Article 370 and said that was the internal matter of New Delhi, Beijing could not interfere on it.