India on Monday told the Chinese government that the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir were an “internal matter” and had no implication for either the external boundaries of the country or the Line of Actual Control with China. The remarks came after China said that it was “very closely” following the tension between India and Pakistan since the relationship deteriorated after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked last week, PTI reported.
“EAM [External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar] conveyed that this was an internal matter for India,” the statement from the ministry read. “The issue related to changes in a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and was the sole prerogative of the country. The legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-economic development.” Jaishankar emphasised that the changes had no bearing on Pakistan and did not impact the Line of Control, adding that China should “base its assessment on realities”.
India also clarified that it would not raise any additional territorial claims and that China’s concerns in that aspect were misplaced. “EAM also conveyed that so far as the India China boundary question was concerned, the two sides had agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the Boundary Question on the basis of the 2005 Political Parameters and Guiding Principles,” the statement said.
The two countries also signed five agreements in the fields of foreign affairs, cultural exchanges, sports cooperation, museum cooperation and cooperation in traditional medicine, according to the Indian embassy in China.
Earlier in the day, the Chinese government had also urged New Delhi to play a “constructive role” to bring about regional peace and stability. “On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, we can have mutually beneficial cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying. “This is in the fundamental interest and long-term interest of our two peoples and also contribute to world peace and human progress.” He further said that China and India had important responsibilities to uphold peace and stability in the region. After China’s remarks, India reiterated that it was important that its bilateral differences with Pakistan should not become disputes.
Jaishankar, earlier on Monday, had said relations between India and China should be a factor of stability at a time when the world is facing uncertainties, PTI reported. Jaishankar arrived in China on Sunday on a three-day visit.
After his arrival, Jaishankar called on Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan at the Zhongnanhai, the residential complex where the senior Chinese leadership resides. He also met his counterpart Wang Yi, and then attended a delegation-level meeting.
“S Jaishankar had served as the Ambassador of India to China for many years making positive and active contribution to China-India relations, this is his first visit to China after he took over the office of foreign minister, I welcome him,” ANI quoted Wang Yi as saying.
He said cooperation mechanisms between the two countries needed to be strengthened and China understood the requirement to “further deepen our practical, economic and trade cooperation”.
Jaishankar said the Chinese foreign ministry made suggestions regarding the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. “We have also agreed to organise 100 activities to further strengthen our people-to-people ties,” he added. “We will be jointly inaugurating a film week, later this evening, marking a commencement of these activities. We have just now concluded four MoUs [memoranda of understanding].”
“We need to abide by the UN Charter, respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, and address disputes through dialogue,” Wang Yi said. “We will continue to utillise the special representative mechanism over the boundary question to seek early harvest in boundary negotiation.”
Earlier in the day, in his opening remarks during the meeting with Wang Yi, Jaishankar said the two countries had reached a consensus in Astana two years ago that their bilateral relationship should be a factor of stability in the international community. “And I am very pleased today to come in the aftermath of the Wuhan summit where the consensus between our leaders on global and regional issues has expanded,” he added, referring to the summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping last year.
Jaishankar is also expected finalise arrangements for Xi’s visit to India later this year for a second informal summit with Modi.
Jaishankar’s visit came days after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Beijing to seek China’s support for its move to the United Nations Security Council against India’s decision to place a security lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir after ending the state’s special status.
After the meeting, China had said it was “seriously concerned” about India’s decisions, and urged New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve their differences bilaterally based on the United Nations charter and the 1972 Simla Agreement.
On August 6, India had said its decision to grant Union territory status to Ladakh was an internal matter after China opposed the inclusion and claimed that it was a Chinese territory. “China is always opposed to India’s inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said. She said China’s position on Ladakh was firm and consistent.