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India-China ties have been under strain recently after Beijing blocked efforts to get Pakistan-based militant Maulana Masood Azhar. Photo: Reuters
India-China ties have been under strain recently after Beijing blocked efforts to get Pakistan-based militant Maulana Masood Azhar. Photo: Reuters

India, China to hold strategic talks on 22 February

Foreign secretary S. Jaishankar will discuss with executive vice-chairman of China Hang Yesui all issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international domain, says Vikas Swarup

New Delhi: India and China will hold their first strategic dialogue on 22 February in Beijing, during which the two sides will discuss “friction points" as well as issues of mutual “concern and interest".

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said foreign secretary S. Jaishankar would discuss with executive vice-chairman of China Hang Yesui “all issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international domain", foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said on Thursday.

“This dialogue mechanism was agreed to during Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to India in August 2016," Swarup said.

“The idea is that through the mechanism of the strategic dialogue (the two countries) are able to take a holistic view of India-China relations and see to what extent the two sides can accommodate each other’s concerns and interests," he said.

Swarup described the dialogue as a “new" and “comprehensive" forum.

India-China ties have been under strain recently after Beijing blocked efforts to get Pakistan-based militant Maulana Masood Azhar listed as a terrorist under UN norms. Added to this is Chinese opposition to India gaining entry to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group—an elite grouping that controls global nuclear commerce.

Other irritants include an unsettled boundary dispute dating back more than five decades and a burgeoning trade deficit.

At an event hosted by a Mumbai-based think tank earlier this week, Jaishankar said that “if there is one relationship that we need to work on, it’s the China one"—an indication that India was conscious of its complex ties with its northern neighbour.

Jaishankar said “it does not help to duck issues" when it came to China and admitted that there was a need to invest more to manage the relationship better.

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