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China FM’s India visit to maintain momentum in ties despite differences

world Updated: Aug 09, 2016 22:12 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times

File photo of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.(PTI)

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi will focus on taking forward consensus forged with India during his visit to New Delhi this week as the common interests of the two countries far outweigh differences, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The high-level visit comes at a time when India is still smarting at China’s decision to block its entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on procedural grounds.

But a statement issued by the foreign ministry on the purpose of Wang’s visit said China and India “have identical strategic goals and their common interests far outweigh differences”.

Wang, who will travel to Kenya, Uganda and India during August 9-14, will also discuss with the Indian leadership the G20 Summit to be held at Hangzhou in eastern China in September and the BRICS Summit in Goa in October.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the G20 meet during September 4-5 and President Xi Jinping will be in Goa for the BRICS leaders’ conference.

A brief statement issued by foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “To become closer partners of development is a direction set by leaders of China and India.

“During his visit to India, foreign minister Wang Yi will also communicate with the Indian side about how to carry forward consensus between the two leaders and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in different fields in a bid to make sure that the relationship will keep growing as planned.”

Referring to the G20 Summit and the BRICS Summit, Hua said discussions about the two important meets will be “on the top of the agenda for the purpose of building up consensus and making the summits successful”.

Some media reports had speculated that Wang was headed to India to seek its support on the South China Sea but the Chinese statement did not mention this issue.

Modi and Xi met in India in 2014 and in China a year later during two high-profile bilateral visits. Whether bilateral ties have been able to maintain the momentum generated by the two visits is questionable.

The Chinese statement, however, maintained the usual positive tone using oft-repeated diplomatic jargon.

“China-India relationship has been developing fast and sound in all aspects following President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in 2014 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China last year. The two countries enjoy in-depth pragmatic cooperation, and ever thriving people-to-people and cultural exchanges,” it said.

It added, “Mutually beneficial cooperation and common development of the two countries will not only benefit the two peoples but also contribute to stability and growth of the region and beyond.”