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Amid Ukraine war, Chinese foreign minister could soon visit India to discuss LAC standoff

Wang Yi, who is also one of the State Council leaders of the CCP, is planning a week-long visit to South Asia and so could drop in for a day. But talks at a ‘premature’ stage.

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New Delhi: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is likely to visit India soon to discuss the ongoing border standoff amid the raging Russia-Ukraine war, two top-level sources told ThePrint.

Wang, who is also one of the State Council leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is planning a week-long visit to South Asia and so could drop in for a day, said the first source.

However, while talks are ongoing over Wang’s likely visit in the region, the idea of his arrival in India is still at a “premature” stage, the source said.

If the visit fructifies then it will only focus on an “immediate plan” to disengage troops who are engaged in a bitter border standoff since April-May 2020 in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the source added.

The visit is expected to take place at the end of this month amid the raging Russia-Ukraine war.

The war is among the reasons behind Wang’s physical visit to India to meet his counterpart External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the second source said. 

China has been keenly watching India’s stance on the Ukraine crisis, said the source. Like India, China has also sought a diplomatic solution to the war, which has essentially brought both rivals New Delhi and Beijing “on the same page” regarding the global crisis.

Wang can also propose an “urgent meeting” of the Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping in order to chalk out a strategy on how to help Russia economically as it faces a barrage of stringent economic sanctions that is likely to paralyse its economy. 

Wang is expected to visit Nepal on 26 March, said a report by The Kathmandu Post Tuesday.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is yet to officially announce the visit, the talks for which are still in initial stages. 

The visit, once confirmed, will be announced by Beijing immediately, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson told ThePrint.

Since the LAC standoff began in 2020, Jaishankar and Wang have met in person on several occasions and have also held multiple phone calls to implement a plan wherein both sides can head for a deescalation. However, both countries continue to deploy heavy military presence at the LAC.

Also read: India to boost connectivity with Bangladesh & Nepal with new rail links, says foreign secy

Japan PM to visit India, Modi’s meet with Australian PM also on cards

Later this week, the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is visiting India for a summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi where both sides are likely to discuss China’s growing aggressive stance in the region, an issue that has hugely concerned Tokyo.

This will come on the back of a virtual Quad Summit of Japan, India, Australia and the US to activate a mechanism within the grouping to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Ukraine. India is the only country in the grouping that hasn’t criticised Russian actions while continuing business as usual with Moscow.

Modi might also hold a virtual meeting with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison next week as trade linkages and supply chain networks witness massive strain owing to the ongoing war.

Also read: US & India should ‘indemnify’ economic ties from risks like Ukraine, says Atul Keshap


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