Vijay Gokhale visits China, talks on Masood Azhar possible

Beijing says differences over BRI will not hinder development of ties with India

Published: 22nd April 2019 07:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2019 07:36 AM   |  A+A-

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale (Photo | MEA India Twitter)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India and China have resumed talks on key issues concerning their relations, with Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale arriving in Beijing on Sunday to discuss key issues with top Chinese officials, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Gokhale is scheduled to hold bilateral consultations with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou on Monday and call on Wang, who is also the State Councillor, a high-level post in the hierarchy of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), official sources said.

The two countries are grappling with a host of issues, including Beijing’s continuous attempts to block efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammed’s chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist”.

READ| China claims Masood Azhar issue at UNSC headed for settlement but says no April 23 deadline

India-China relations gathered positive momentum after last year’s informal summit at Wuhan between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, China’s move to block Pakistan-based Azhar’s designation as a “global terrorist” following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, caused disappointment in India.

The US, the UK and France moved a proposal under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, but China stalled it for the fourth time by putting a technical hold on the resolution, a move India termed as “disappointing”.

The visit of Gokhale also assumes significance as China holds its biggest international event, the Belt and Road Forum, to showcase its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in which the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project.

India has protested to China over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, while pointing out the issue of sovereignty involved, and like in 2017, has decided to give the second edition being held from April 25-27 a miss.

Wang has, meanwhile, said that differences over the BRI would not come in the way of the development of India-China relations.

“After the Wuhan summit, we see all areas or progress between the two countries and we have bright prospects for this relationship. We are now preparing for the next summit of our leaders,” he said, without specifying any time frame.

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