Kashmir to figure in talks as Jaishankar in Beijing

BANGKOK, Aug. 1, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with India's Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Bangkok, Thailand, Aug. 1, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Keren/IANS)

Beijing (IANS) India's revocation of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir is set to figure in talks between visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi here on Monday, days after New Delhi firmly told Beijing that its moves on Kashmir and the creation of the Ladakh Union Territory were an internal matter.

Ahead of his meeting with Wang, Jaishankar on Monday met Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan in Beijing.

Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to China to co-chair the second meeting of the India-China 'High-Level Mechanism' on cultural and people-to-people exchanges and also to prepare for the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to be held in India in October.

For Jaishankar, who was ambassador to China from 2009 to 2013, it is his first visit after taking over as External Affairs Minister.

The meeting between Jaishankar and Wang also comes days after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was in Beijing last week and met Wang to consult on the next steps over India's revocation of special status for Kashmir, which Islamabad has termed an act of "annexation".

According to Qureshi, China has assured its support to Pakistan in the UN Security Council over the Kashmir issue.

After China termed creation of a new union territory of Ladakh as "unacceptable", India had firmly told Beijing that the decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir is wholly an internal matter, and also that New Delhi does not comment on the internal matters of others, and expects others to do likewise.

On August 6, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said: "The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill 2019, introduced by the Government in Parliament on August 5, which proposes the formation of a new "Union Territory of Ladakh" is an internal matter concerning the territory of India.

"India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise."

Strongly backing its all-weather friend Pakistan, China has voiced "serious concern" over the Kashmir situation and stressed that Kashmir is "a legacy of history between India and Pakistan". 

Beijing also said that New Delhi should avoid actions to "unilaterally change the status quo" of Kashmir.

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