India, China gear up for tough negotiations during strategic talks


BEIJING, Feb. 22: Foreign secretary of India S Jaishankar set the stage for the upcoming strategic dialogue in Beijing by saying that India remained "strongly committed" to maintaining good relations with China. India wants to maintain its ties with China without making any compromises on its stand on major issues of differences between the Himalayan neighbors.

Jaishankar will attend the first round of the reconstituted strategic dialogue with China's executive vice foreign minister Zhang Yesui and other officials on Wednesday. The two sides are geared up for tough negotiations covering several points of friction affecting their relationship, while ensuring that dialogue and consultations are not hampered.

Two prickly issues that will come up during the first round of the upgraded strategic dialogue on Wednesday are China's negative stance towards India on the issue of Azhar Masood and entry into Nuclear Suppliers' Group. But Jaishankar has signalled India's determination to question certain aspects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through the disputed Kashmir areas claimed by India.

"For us, there are questions of sovereignty which need to be addressed first," Jaishankar was quoted as saying by state-run Global Times. New Delhi believes that the corridor is an affront on India's stand on Kashmir under Pakistani occupation through which the road passes.

"On terror, China has a very strong, principled position on counter-terrorism. We hope the position China already has will be further implemented," Jaishankar told Global Times.

The foreign secretary met China's state councillor Yang Jiechi at the Zhongnanhai compound in central Beijing, which is filled with offices of senior officials set around a scenic lake in Beijing. He arrived in Beijing with "a very strong sense of commitment to maintaining our relationship", Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar, who was India's ambassador in China till 2013, said he was returning to Beijing was a sense of "nostalgia and very good feelings" about his time there.

Yang said India-China relations have seen "positive growth" in 2016, with President Pranab Mukherjee visiting China and Prime Minister Modi holding three meetings with President Xi Jinping.




"We enjoyed good communication at many levels and continued good cooperation in fields of economy, trade, culture and people to people exchanges," Yang said. India and China were "able to maintain sound economic and social development" despite a "fluid and complex" global situation, Yang said.

"We truly hope that in the year ahead our two countries can enhance our exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation so that we can jointly contribute more to the peace, stability and development of our region and the world at large, and deliver more benefits to our two countries and the people of our two countries and the whole world," he said.




Yang also thanked Jaishankar for his "important contribution" to relations with China both as envoy to China and foreign secretary.(TOI)

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