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India, China to discuss Masood Azhar

NEW DELHI: India and China will hold their first Strategic Dialogue on February 22 in Beijing during which the two sides will discuss key issues of mutual “concern and interest” including “friction points” such as Masood Azhar, Press Trust of India said on Thursday.

It said Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Executive Vice Chairman of China Zhang Yesui will co-chair the meet to discuss “all issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international domain.”

The agency quoted External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup as acknowledging on Thursday that there are “friction points” in Sino-China ties.

Mr Swarup said the dialogue will strive for a holistic view of the relations between the two countries and see to what extent they can accommodate each other’s concerns and interests.

“India and China share a close development partnership and there are number of issues also between the two countries. While there are collaborative activities, there are also some friction points.

“The idea is that through the mechanism of this strategic dialogue, the foreign secretary from our side and his Chinese counterpart can take a holistic view of India-China relations and see to what extent the two sides can accommodate each other’s concerns and interests,” he said.

The dialogue was set up during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in August last year. Mr Swarup described the new mechanism as a “comprehensive” forum.

India-China ties have witnessed strain following Beijing’s stand on issues crucial to India such as membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and designation of JeM chief and alleged Pathankot attack mastermind Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the UN.

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