Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made it clear to Chinese President Xi Jinping that there was no question of India resuming dialogue with Pakistan until Islamabad created an atmosphere free of terrorism in the region.
At a meeting with the Chinese leader on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Modi said India has not seen any change in Pakistan’s attitude on dealing with terrorism emanating from its soil.
Making it abundantly clear to Beijing that India was committed to bilateral mechanism for resolving all issues with Pakistan, he said all efforts by New Delhi for peace with Islamabad had been derailed. Incidentally, the comments came when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was also in Bishkek for the SCO Summit.
Briefing reporters on the Modi-Xi meeting lasting half-an-hour, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the issue of Pakistan figured briefly during the meeting.
At the outset, the Chinese President congratulated Modi on the BJP’s resounding victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections in India. He said he was looking forward to his visit to India for the second informal summit with the Indian leader.
The two leaders reviewed the progress in bilateral ties and in this context also discussed the long-pending boundary dispute. They asked their Special Representatives (SRs) on the boundary dispute to expedite a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable” solution to the boundary issue. The SRs of the two countries—National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi—were also present at the meeting.
Modi pointed out that the two countries would be next year celebrating 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. He suggested that the two countries organise 70 important events to mark the occasion. Of these, 35 events could be held in India and 35 in China.
The two leaders asked their foreign ministers to discuss this issue further when they meet soon for the second meeting of the high-level mechanism for people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges.
Modi noted that “strategic communication” between the two countries has increased considerably ever since he and President Xi had their first informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan in April last year. In this connection, he referred to the opening of the Bank of China branch in India and the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council after China lifted its technical hold.
On the trade imbalance between the two countries, President Xi pointed out that China has taken certain steps in recent months to encourage imports from India. More steps were in the offing, he indicated.
The foreign secretary said Modi and the Chinese President would be meeting again within the next two weeks on the margins of the G-20 Summit in Osaka (Japan).