China has welcomed India's initiative to break the ice with Pakistan and said it is nudging Pakistan to improve relations with India, raising hopes that it may prevail upon its ally to work toward easing tension in the subcontinent.
"India and Pakistan have launched dialogue to ease tensions. We understand that it is not an easy task but we appreciate that Delhi has taken initiatives to launch a process to improve relations with Islamabad. China is working towards influencing Pakistan for better ties with India," a senior Chinese official told Economic Times ahead of Modi's visit to Beijing.
A senior Pakistani expert also indicated that China was in talks with Pakistan to find a way forward in improving ties with its Eastern neighbour.
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This is the first such statement from China, which, India believes, has been arming and abetting Pakistan as part of its strategy to contain India and thereby maintain a dominant presence in South Asia.
Experts have also said that China has been worried about the growing spectre of terrorism not only in Pakistan but also within its territory in Xinjiang region.
The Chinese official further suggested that while China was in efforts to influence Pakistan, India should also take initiatives simultaneously to improve relations with it's western neighbour.
These remarks are significant as they come ahead of the first Sino-Indian Special Representative (SR) dialogue under the Modi government in Delhi on March 23, where the regional situation and boundary dispute will be discussed.
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The official did not want to preempt the outcome of the next SR level dialogue, saying that the "matter is sensitive" and the two leaders, Modi and Xi, will decide on the course of action when they meet in China in May
"A warm reception awaits PM Modi in China similar to the one Xi received in Ahmedabad last September," he said.
India has on many occasions expressed its reservations about China's role in propping up Pakistan. The official, however, said his country's goal is to improve economic conditions of Pakistan.
This article originally appeared in The Economic Times