The Foreign Ministry neither backed nor distanced itself from Chinese envoy to India Luo Zhaohui’s suggestion, which India thinks was made in his personal capacity.
“Both India and Pakistan are China’s neighbours and friends. We are willing to conduct relations with all our neighbours including Pakistan and India to strengthen our cooperation for better development and stability in the region,” ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.
“We also hope India and Pakistan can strengthen their dialogue to improve their mutual trust and bilateral relations. This is in the interest of the regional countries,” Geng said.
Asked if Luo’s remarks in Delhi were China’s official position, Geng said: “What I have just said is China’s official position.”
On Monday, at a seminar organised by the Chinese Embassy in Delhi, Luo said that India, China and Pakistan should engage in a joint dialogue.
“Security cooperation is one of the three pillars of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation). Some Indian friends suggested that India, China and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral summit on the sidelines of SCO. So, if China, Russia and Mongolia can have a trilateral summit, then why not India, China and Pakistan,” he asked while addressing the gathering, an assortment of China-watchers and specialists from the strategic community in the Capital.
“May be not now, but in the future, that is the great idea. It will help to resolve bilateral issues and help to maintain peace and tranquility,” he told reporters later.
India was quick to reject the proposal, with its Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying the suggestion might have been Luo’s personal opinion.
“We have seen reports on comments made by the Chinese Ambassador in this matter. We have not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government. We consider the statement as the personal opinion of the Ambassador,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.
India says its dispute with Pakistan is purely bilateral and there is no scope for any third country’s involvement in the matter.
China has never officially stated that it is willing to broker peace between India and Pakistan over disputed Kashmir.
Beijing is Pakistan’s ally and the key route of its Belt and Road project goes through the same disputed Kashmir held by Islamabad and claimed by New Delhi