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Legislative changes in J&K aimed at better governance, have no bearing on Pak: India tells China

By Vishal S

Beijing, Aug 12: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday said the issue of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir came up during talks with China and that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar maintained that "legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance & socio-economic development."

MEA statement said that Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart that to "base its assessment on realities" when it came to India Pakistan relations.

India-China delegation level talks

Jaishankar, who is on a crucial three-day visit to Beijing, on Monday met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and held delegation level talks.

"During the bilateral meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister also brought up developments pertaining to legislation passed recently by Indian Parliament on Jammu and Kashmir. EAM conveyed this was an internal matter for India," the MEA said.

"It was conveyed that legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-economic development. There was no implication for either the external boundaries of India or Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. India was not raising any additional territorial claims," the statement added.

[Bilateral differences shouldn't become disputes: EAM Jaishankar tells China]

Jaishankar is the first Indian minister to tour China after the Modi government began its second term. His visit was finalised much before India's move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

"Chinese Foreign Minister also referred to rising tensions between India and Pakistan after these changes. EAM emphasised the changes being an internal matter had no bearing on Pakistan. It didn't impact LoC. Where India-Pak relations are concerned, China should base its assessment on realities," the statement said.

Jaishankar further conveyed to Wang that where the India-China boundary question was concerned, the two countries had agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question on the basis of the 2005 Political Parameters and Guiding Principles.

Earlier on Monday, India and China agreed on a host of initiatives to improve their relations, with New Delhi emphasising that the future of the ties will depend on the mutual sensitivity to each other's "core concerns" to ensure that any bilateral differences should not become disputes.

India-China talks on trade:

China today promised to address India's growing concerns over the ballooning trade deficit and suggested expanding cooperation in areas like industrial production, tourism and border trade to achieve "overall balance" in bilateral commercial relations. India has repeatedly voiced concern over the trade imbalance which last year crossed a whopping USD 57.86 billion over USD 95.5 billion total bilateral trade.

The trade deficit in 2018, according to the official Chinese data, climbed to USD 57.86 billion from USD 51.72 billion in 2017. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is here for talks with the Chinese leadership to prepare for the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year in India, mentioned the trade deficit issue during talks as well as during a bilateral event.

[Jaishankar discusses bilateral ties with New Zealand, Thai counterparts]

India-China economic relationship too has seen "some progress, Jaishankar said. The bilateral trade has increased but so too has our deficit, which is a matter of some concern.

"We appreciate the steps taken in the last few months by the Chinese side to enhance imports from India. These efforts could expand to include measures to enable greater access for our pharmaceutical and IT products and services in the domestic Chinese market," he said at the 2nd meeting of the India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges here.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was also present at the meeting, said China appreciates India's concerns over the trade imbalance. Wang said, "We stand ready to continue providing facilities to Indian exports to China".

"At the same time, we need to think broadly and need to expand cooperation in industrial production tourism, border trade and other areas so that we can achieve overall balance in our economic trade relations", he said.

This year, the bilateral trade is expected to touch USD 100 billion, a historic figure endorsed by the leadership of the two countries.

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