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UN representative of China contacts Indian counterpart

UN representative of China contacts Indian counterpart

Updated:Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 08:47

UN representative of China contacts Indian counterpartChina has reached out to India to smoothen ruffled feathers over the Kashmir issue, including the status of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, ahead of the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in mid-October.

Zhang Jun, the newly-appointed Chinese permanent representative at the UN, recently met his Indian counterpart Syed Akbaruddin ahead of the high segment of the UN General Assembly reportedly to discuss multilateral cooperation. This meeting is significant after Beijing tried to internationalise the Kashmir issue and also raised the issue of LAC in Ladakh at the UN Security Council informal session on August 16.

While there is no official word about the outcome from Zhang-Akbaruddin meet, the senior Indian diplomat is understood to have explained India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir and LAC in Ladakh.

There are reports that foreign minister S Jaishankar could also meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of UN General Assembly later this month to prepare for the second edition of the informal summit near Chennai.

The meeting between the two UN permanent representatives came after Akbaruddin led New Delhi’s diplomatic charge at the UN to block a move by Pakistan and China to bring the issue of J&K back on the formal agenda of the Security Council.

Zhang’s decision to meet Akbaruddin signalled Beijing’s willingness to engage with New Delhi at a time India is preparing to counter Pakistan’s propaganda at the UN General Assembly, according to China watchers. Modi followed by the Pakistani PM will address the UN General Assembly on the same day — September 27.

Akbaruddin and Zhang had a runin of sorts on August 16. Zhang, who joined in his position on July 31, represented China at the UNSC informal session on the Kashmir issue on August 16. But Sino-Pak efforts to get Kashmir on the formal agenda of UNSC and informal session to issue a statement failed to get any support from 13 other members of the Security Council.

After the UNSC meeting, Zhang and Pakistan’s permanent representative to UN, Maleeha Lodhi, spoke to media and claimed that the members of the Security Council were “deeply concerned” about the situation in J&K. Just a few minutes later, Akbaruddin came to address the media and dismissed the attempts made by Zhang and Lodhi to pass off “national statements” as “the will of the entire UNSC”.

Beijing has been alleging that New Delhi’s moves on J&K also undermined the “sovereignty” of China. The Communist Party of China was taken off guard with Union home minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Lok Sabha on August 6 that the entire J&K state (including the areas under Pakistan and Chinese control) is an integral part of India. Later, Jaishankar conveyed to Wang on August 12 that India’s decisions had no implications for LAC with China. He also told Wang that the decisions had no impact on India’s LoC with Pakistan.

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