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PM Modi will explain India's Kashmir stand to Xi Jinping if Chinese President raises it: Sources

PM Modi will explain India's Kashmir stand to Xi Jinping if Chinese President raises it: Sources

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit India from October 11 to 12 for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the External Affairs Ministry announced on Wednesday.

It said the forthcoming Chennai Informal Summit will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to continue their discussions on overarching issues of bilateral, regional and global importance.

The delay in officially announcing Xi's visit for the informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai was seen as a reflection of some uneasiness in Sino-India ties following India's decision to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories and withdraw its special status.

"At the invitation of the Prime Minister, the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping will be visiting Chennai, India from October 11-12, 2019 for the 2nd Informal Summit," the ministry said.

During the summit the two countries will exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership, the ministry said.

Sources indicated that the Modi-Xi summit will be to find broad pathways to deepen ties.

On the Kashmir issue, the sources said, "India's position on Kashmir is very clear. If Xi raises the issue, PM Modi will explain our view on it".

On China's objection to the declaration of Ladakh as a union territory, the sources said it was a demand of local population and the decision has in no way changed the respective perception of the boundary between the two countries.

The sources also termed a bilateral matter the visit of the Pakistan prime minister to Beijing before Xi's India trip, saying the informal summit is "beyond one issue summit" and New Delhi does not see Imran Khan's trip as an attempt by China to hyphenate the India and Pakistan relationship.

Trade, political relations and ways to deal with terror are expected to be discussed in the Modi-Xi summit, they said.

Maintaining peace and tranquillity along the border will also be discussed in the meet.

"India is looking at additional Confidence Building Measures for peace along the border," the sources added.

This is the second informal summit between Modi and Xi.

The first one was held last year at the Chinese city of Wuhan, which enabled the two countries to normalise the relations on all fronts after the 73-day standoff between the two militaries at Doklam in 2017.

The standoff took place over the Chinese military's plan to build a road close to the narrow Siliguri corridor also known as Chicken Neck corridor connecting the North-Eastern states.

The standoff ended with both sides withdrawing from the standoff site after the Chinese military called off its road-building plans.

ALSO READ | No plans for traffic diversions yet for Modi-Xi meet: Chennai Police

"At the invitation of the Prime Minister, the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping will be visiting Chennai, India from October 11-12, 2019 for the 2nd Informal Summit," the ministry said.

The summit will be held in the coastal town of Mamallapuram.

During the summit the two countries will exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership, the ministry said.

They said political relations, trade and terrorism and ways to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border between the two countries will be major areas of focus in the talks, besides key regional and global issues, including reform of the UN and challenges being faced by the World Trade Organisation.

India is also looking at additional confidence-building measures along the border.

On China objecting to the Indian Army's mega military exercise in Arunachal Pradesh, the sources said it is an operational issue.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.

Both sides have been maintaining that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

The Wednesday's announcement about Xi's visit to India by China coincides with the ongoing visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and its Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Khan who arrived on Tuesday held talks with Premier Li Keqiang and expected to meet Xi on Wednesday.

Khan's visit is taking place at a time when tensions have spiked between Pakistan and India after New Delhi ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

Ahead of Xi's visit, China on Tuesday however, said the Kashmir issue should be resolved between New Delhi and Islamabad, significantly omitting its recent references to the UN and UN Security Council resolutions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang's comments marked a significant shift on what China has been saying on Kashmir in recent weeks in the aftermath of India's move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution removing the special status to Kashmir.

Ahead of Xi's India visit, China on Tuesday said the Kashmir issue should be resolved between New Delhi and Islamabad, significantly omitting its recent references to the UN and UN Security Council resolutions.

In its first reaction on August 6, the Chinese foreign ministry issued two separate statements.

In one statement, China also expressed its opposition to India's move to create a separate Union Territory of Ladakh highlighting Beijing's territorial claims in the area.

The second statement said, "we call on both India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve the relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the region".

But, China added UN and UNSC resolutions on Kashmir when Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Beijing few days later and met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

"It (Kashmir issue) should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement," Wang had said.

A closed-door meeting of the UNSC on Kashmir where China maintained the same stand ended without any outcome or statement, in a snub to Beijing and Islamabad.

Later, Wang in his UN General Assembly speech mentioned the same which drew protests from India.

Geng's comments on Tuesday marks China's return to its original stand that Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally.

Observers say it is significant shift ahead of Xi's visit to India for his 2nd informal summit with Prime Minister Modi.

The two sides have already held over 20 rounds of border talks under the framework of the Special Representatives dialogue, set up to find an early solution to the border dispute.

Sources said the China-India counter-terror exercise is expected to be held later this year.

They said negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) may also figure in talks between Modi and Xi.

The RCEP comprising 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries -- India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand -- is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact.

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