Chinese foreign minister to make surprise visit to India after clash two years ago- source

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New Delhi (Reuters) – China’s foreign minister will make a surprise stop for talks in New Delhi on Friday, an Indian official said, though neither side has formally announced what would be the highest level visit since border clashes soured relations two years ago.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has attended a conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Pakistan this week and is set to also visit Nepal on Friday, as part of a tour of South Asia.

The Indian government source, who requested anonymity, said Wang was expected to meet with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and while the agenda was unclear, discussions over the Ukraine conflict were expected.

India’s foreign ministry declined to comment. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said at a daily news briefing on Wednesday that he had no information to offer at the moment.

Neither China or India have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia, which refers to its actions as a “special military operation”, counts both China and India as friendly powers, having cultivated diplomatic and economic ties since the Cold War era.

Relations between China and Indian became fraught in June 2020, when 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed during a high altitude clash in a disputed section of the western Himalayas.

India has restricted many Chinese firms from operating in the country since then.

Wang said at an annual news briefing in Beijing this month that Asia’s two largest nations should help each other accomplish goals, instead of “draining each others’ energies”. 

Without naming anyone, he said that “some forces” had tried to create conflict and division between the two countries.

Aside from the tensions in the Himalayas, India’s mistrust of China stems from Beijing’s support of old foe Pakistan, the competition for influence in Nepal, and concern over China’s economic clout in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

In recent weeks, India has received a flurry of visits and phone calls from senior officials from Australia, Britain, Japan and the United States, while China has also stepped up diplomatic activity to set out its position over the conflict in Ukraine.