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Chinese FM lands in India on surprise visit

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NEW DEHLI: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has arrived India after visiting Kabul. He will meet his Indian counterpart; India’s Foreign Ministry has said after he arrived in the city unannounced in the first such visit since deadly border clashes in 2020 soured ties.

Wang will meet Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar before noon, a ministry spokesperson said on Friday, without giving further details. Wang is set to fly to Nepal later in the day.

Neither side had announced the visit before Wang landed in New Delhi late on Thursday.

Pakistan had invited Wang as a special guest to the two-day summit. In 2019, UAE invited then Indian FM Sushma Swaraj as a “guest of honour” at the OIC conclave in Abu Dhabi, marking India’s first high-level presence at the Islamic bloc summit.

On Tuesday, the Chinese top diplomat during a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said, China stands ready to work with Islamic countries “to promote multipolarity in the world.”

“On Kashmir, we have heard again today the calls of many of our Islamic friends. And China shares the same hope,” Wang added.

“China and the Islamic world have found a path of friendly coexistence and win-win cooperation between different civilisations, which serves as a model for a new form of diplomatic ties,” Wang said.

New Delhi reacted angrily on Wednesday, saying, “Matters related to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir are entirely the internal affairs of India. Other countries including China have no locus standi to comment. They should note that India refrains from the public judgment of their internal issues.”

Footage from western media showed him coming out of the commercial airport rather than the defence facility nearby where most foreign dignitaries land.

Wang drew a rebuke from the Indian government ahead of his trip for remarks made in Pakistan this week on the contested Kashmir region. India and Pakistan rule Muslim-majority Kashmir in part but claim in full, and China has generally stood by close ally Pakistan.

Relations between China and India worsened after a June 2020 border clash in the Ladakh region of the former Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir killed at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers.

The two sides are expected to talk about the border tension as well as Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. Both consider Russia as a friendly nation and have rejected Western calls to condemn the aggression from Moscow, which it calls “a special military operation.”

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