On Wednesday morning, India and China began their strategic dialogue in Beijing to shore up bilateral ties.
The dialogue assumes significance since India has been upset with China over Beijing’s reluctance to support India’s NSG bid as well as impose a UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar.
Just ahead of the recently renewed strategic dialogue, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Welcoming Jaishankar, Wang said China and India, the two major developing countries and emerging markets must meet frequently.
“We have to have frequent meetings,” he said, referring to high-level talks held by officials from both sides on critical issues before the dialogue began.
The official-level meetings made very good foundation for the “successful strategic dialogue”, he added.
“I am certain by raising the level of this strategic dialogue the two sides will be able to enhance their strategic communication, reduce misunderstanding and build more trust and deepen our strategic cooperation… This way we can better tap into the potential of our bilateral relations and live up to our responsibilities,” Wang said.
In his response, Jaishankar said, “This is the first time that the restructured strategic dialogue is taking place…This shows that our relationship today has gone well beyond bilateral manifestations.”
In his opening remarks at the dialogue, Jaishankar said, “We have truly transcended the bilateral dimension of our relations. What happens between India and China has both great global and regional significance.
“Our assessment coming in is that our bilateral relations have really acquired a very steady momentum over many years. Our leadership-level meetings have been taking place regularly and our economic engagement is growing. We are seeing cooperation on many international issues and our border areas have maintained peace and tranquility,” he said.
Apparently referring to differences, Jaishankar said, “there are natural issues which neighbours have” and it is the responsibility of both the countries to address them.
China, on its part said that it expects both countries to discuss the full range of issues that are important.
Several top officials from both sides, including those in-charge of nuclear disarmament issues, were present at the talks indicating that both sides will be discussing India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) besides other issues.
The strategic dialogue between India and China was upgraded during Chinese Foreign Minister Yi’s visit to New Delhi last year. China has deputed Zhang, also the head of the influential Communist Party of China (CPC) committee of the Chinese Foreign Ministry to co-chair the talks.
(With inputs from agencies)