• Thursday, 21 February 2019

China not aware of Xi's reported travel plans to India

Beijing, Jan 24 : China on Thursday was non-committal on the news reports about President Xi Jinping travelling to India in the next two months.

"It's quite interesting. I am not aware of that, but China and India are friendly neighbours and we attach importance to maintaining high-level exchanges," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said when asked at the regular briefing about the reports.

"The leaders of the two countries also maintain friendly communications and exchanges," Hua added.

A Japanese news outlet had reported that Xi might travel to India as early as February or after the Chinese Parliament session in March.

"Xi intends to visit India as early as February in a move seen at countering Washington's increasingly antagonistic trade policy and aggressive Indo-Pacific diplomacy," a report in the Nikkei Asian Review said.

"Xi hopes to visit ahead of India's general elections due by May. An Indian source said the visit would be in February at the earliest, but a Chinese source said it will be after China's National People's Congress in March," said the report.

Talking to IANS in Beijing, a diplomatic source denied that such meeting would happen before India's general elections. Another source pleaded ignorance about the matter.

During the ice-breaking one-on-one summit at Wuhan in April last year, Modi had proposed to Xi a similar meet in India in 2019. The proposal was accepted by the Chinese side.

In Wuhan, Modi and Xi came to agree on a lot of issues and pledged to keep their disputed border quiet and let not the issues affect other aspects of the bilateral ties.

Since the summit, the ties between India and China have been on the upswing with a slew of high-level visits by both sides. In fact, the Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui last year said that New Delhi and Beijing were in the best phase of their relationship.

(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at sharmagaurav71@gmail.com)



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