Ahead of Modi-Xi summit, China sets a positive tone with shift in Kashmir stance


Setting a positive note for the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has signalled a shift in its stance on recent changes in Jammu and Kashmir by stressing that the Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.

In a tacit acknowledgment of New Delhi’s sensitivities, China’s Foreign Office has omitted the recent references Beijing had made about addressing the dispute in accordance with the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement.

Responding to a query on Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing’s stand on the dispute has been consistent. “And, so you are paying attention to the Kashmir issue, right? China’s position on Kashmir issue is clear and consistent.”

“We call on India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and consultation on all issues including Kashmir issue and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with the interest of both countries and common aspiration of the world,” Mr Geng said on October 8.

“The latest remarks by Beijing suggest that China is looking to pitch the second informal summit beyond the current controversy over the Kashmir issue and focus on widening a constructive agenda for win-win cooperation,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India and World magazine and India Writes Network.  “The second informal summit will reaffirm the Wuhan spirit, and will widen avenues for enhancing economic cooperation and strategic communication between the two Asian powers. One can expect significant initiatives on reducing trade deficit and enhancing border-related confidence-building measures,” said Mr Chand.

Commenting on the second India-China informal summit, the spokesperson said: “China and India are important neighbors to each other. Both are large developing countries as well as major emerging markets.”

“Since the Wuhan Informal Summit last year, China-India relations have shown a sound momentum of development. The two sides have steadily advanced cooperation in various fields and properly managed differences and sensitive issues,” the spokesperson added.

“China and India have a tradition of high-level exchanges. Both sides are also in communication on the next stage of bilateral high-level exchanges. The two sides should jointly create a favourable atmosphere and environment for high-level exchanges.”

The leaders of India and China are expected to meet October 11-12 in the scenic temple town of Mahabalipuram, which is located an hour’s drive from Chennai.