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Kashmir, Article 370, not to figure in Modi-Xi talks

Kashmir, and India’s revocation of Article 370, would not be discussed during the second informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as these relate to the Indian Constitution, and are a part of India’s ‘sovereign function’, sources said here.

As President Xi and PM Modi are to meet in the seaside town of Mahabalipuram on October 11-12 for the second informal summit, sources made clear that Kashmir and Article 370 would not be discussed between the two leaders.

‘India has made its position very clear (on Article 370), that it relates to the Indian Constitution, which is a sovereign function. And thus the issue of discussion on it does not arise,’ sources said here.

‘In case President Xi wants to understand the issue, then we will explain it,’ the sources added.

On the issue of the creation of a Union Territory of Ladakh, following revocation of Article 370 and to which China had objected, the sources added that the step was taken in keeping with the demands of the local populace for more development and rights.

China has been explained India’s position that it does not alter the external boundary, the sources added.

The fact that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is on a visit to China currently ‘is of no concern’ to India, the sources added.

‘It is between China and Pakistan, and is of no concern to us,’ the sources added.

Ahead of Xi’s India visit for the informal summit, Beijing on Tuesday had moderated its stand on Kashmir, saying the issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, to a query on Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s ongoing visit and whether the Kashmir issue would figure during talks, said in Beijing: ‘China’s position on Kashmir issue is clear and consistent.

‘We call on India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and consultation on all issues including Kashmir issue and consolidate mutual trust. This is in line with the interest of both countries and the common aspiration of the world.’

China refrained from mentioning the UN Security Council resolution and UN charter, as it had done earlier in its statements on Kashmir, including at the UN General Assembly last month.

Imran Khan and his army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is in Beijing currently, to further cement the close ties between China and Pakistan.

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