- India and China on Tuesday held consultations on bilateral relations in Beijing, days ahead of the Chinese leadership convening for a once-in-five-years Communist Party Congress that will set policies for the coming decade.
- India’s Ambassador to China Pradeep Kumar Rawat held talks with Liu Jinsong, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, who is Beijing’s point-man on India.
- Both sides held “candid” talks on bilateral ties, international and regional issues, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
- The consultation on ties, which have remained strained in the wake of the still ongoing Line of Actual Control (LAC) crisis beginning in April 2020, came ahead of Sunday’s all-important Party Congress in Beijing, following which President Xi Jinping is expected to begin a third five-year term.
- Continuity, rather than significant change, is expected on the bilateral front with Mr. Xi continuing to determine policy.
- Sweeping changes are expected in the party as well as military leadership, with the Central Military Commission, headed by Mr. Xi, likely to induct new members.
- A new foreign policy czar in the Politburo is expected to replace the retiring Yang Jiechi.
- The Foreign Ministry will continue to be headed by the current Foreign Minister Wang Yi at least until the annual parliament session next March, when new Ministers will be inducted and government Ministries will see new appointments.
- Both sides on Tuesday also discussed issues relating to travel with China’s zero-COVID rules still limiting flights.
- Around 1,300 Indian students had recently obtained visas, while two batches of 300 businesspeople had taken charter flights from India to the trading hub of Yiwu, the statement noted.
- However, direct flights are unlikely to resume in the immediate future,
- .While Beijing has made a proposal for the resumption of a direct flight, New Delhi’s view is that China’s current travel rules that impose “circuit breaker” bans on flights where passengers test positive, are not conducive to resumption, bringing uncertainty and arbitrary flight cancellations.
- Flying to the mainland through Hong Kong has been seen as a more reliable option.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB