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India non-committal on Chinese FM’s proposed visit this month

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(TibetanReview.net, Mar19’22) – China’s foreign minister’s hopes to visit New Delhi later this month may not materialize if its agenda is to try to improve relations in other areas while leaving the volatile border dispute festering which India has already made clear won’t happen.

The Chinese side has proposed a trip to India by Wang Yi as part of his plans to travel to several countries in the region from Mar 22. Wang will visit Pakistan over Mar 22-23 to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and then Nepal over Mar 26-27. India has already criticized Pakistan for inviting the head of a Kashmiri separatist group to the OIC meeting.

Asked about Wang’s possible visit, India was non-committal, with external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi saying Mar 17 that he had “no information” to share on the matter, reported the hindustantimes.com Mar 17.

“I have a very short answer on this. I don’t have any information to share on this at this moment,” Bagchi was quoted as saying at a weekly media briefing.

Other countries that are expected to be part of Wang’s itinerary are said to be Bangladesh and Bhutan.

The Indian and Chinese sides have been in touch regarding Beijing’s proposal though people familiar with the matter said on Mar 16 the visit was not fully firmed up and dates had not been confirmed, the report said.

If the visit goes ahead, it will be the first by a senior Chinese leader to India since the two countries were locked in a dragging standoff in Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in May 2020. The Chinese side has reportedly sought meetings with Wang’s counterpart, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Wang and Doval are also the Special Representatives for talks on the border issue between the two countries, the report noted.

Bilateral relations plunged to an all-time low following the standoff on the LAC, and a brutal clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020 that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops.

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