India hopeful policy set by China’s Communist Party Congress will promote ties


India is hoping that the direction and the policy set by the Communist Party Congress in China will further promote Sino-India relations and contribute to peace and stability in the region.

The remarks by External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Friday came in response to a query on Chinese President Xi Jinping starting his second five-year term and ordering the country’s Army to intensify its combat readiness by focusing on how to win wars during the Congress of the Communist party.

“Our Prime Minister had sent his best wishes to President Xi for the success of the Congress before it met and subsequently congratulated him on his re-election as the General Secretary of the Communist Party,” he said.

“We hope that the direction and the policy set by the Congress will further promote our bilateral relations and contribute to peace and stability in the region,” Kumar said.

On China’s offer for India to join its ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, which includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Kumar said India’s position on the issue is well-known.

Though India supports connectivity, it has to be open and equitable, he added.

India has objected to the CPEC as it is being laid through disputed territory and New Delhi boycotted a high- profile Belt and Road Forum organised by China in May.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang yesterday in Beijing told reporters that, “We welcome other countries including India to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the basis of voluntarism.”

Replying to a separate question, Kumar said India is in touch with Pakistani authorities regarding Hamid Nihal Ansari, who is in a jail in Pakistan.

Ansari had crossed over to Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012 and then went missing. He was later arrested and tried by a Pakistani military court, which pronounced him guilty of espionage.

The ministry is in touch with Pakistani authorities through its high commission there, the external affairs ministry spokesperson said.

On a meeting between Pakistan High Commissioner and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the spokesperson said it was a “courtesy” call and in such interactions nothing substantive is discussed.