This CiCM Insight analyses Wang Yi’s visit to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal amidst the ongoing China-India border tensions.

  • Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi flew to New Delhi on 25 March 2022. This is the first visit to India by a senior Chinese official since hostilities were exchanged at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in April 2020, after the PLA amassed troops and crossed into Indian territory along the LAC in Ladakh which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers.
  • Despite the Indian administration's insistence that normalcy cannot be restored until the delineation of the LAC is resolved, Wang and the Indian government addressed a number of bilateral issues such as trade, visas, Indian students, health cooperation, and major international events like Ukraine and Afghanistan.
  • Wang's discussions with India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar resulted in no resolution on the border issue. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang proposed a "three-point strategy" to strengthen relations. However, the Indian foreign ministry made no mention of the suggestion in its readout, nor did it imply that a road map to resolution existed.
  • During the bilateral meeting Wang, alluding to the standoff conveyed to Jaishankar that, ‘the border issue should be placed in an appropriate position in bilateral relations’ and that neither country should let it ‘define or even impact’ overall ties. Following the discussion, Jaishankar informed the media that ties had been ‘disturbed as a result of Chinese activities’ and that the India-China relationship was ‘not normal.’ He further added that repairing relations would ‘clearly need the restoration of peace and calm’ along the border.
  • Prior to Wang Yi's visit to New Delhi, Jaishankar met with his Chinese counterpart in Moscow in September 2020 and then in Dushanbe in July and September 2021. The meeting concluded with a common understanding upon disengagement and de-escalation. However, there are serious doubts regarding the implementation of the points agreed. After 15 rounds of negotiations with senior commanders, progress has been made on a number of sticking areas in the disengagement process. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. This must be pursued since the completion of disengagement is required for de-escalation negotiations to take place.
  • Amidst the border dispute with China, India has stressed on its principled approach towards international affairs that is centered around international law, the United Nations Charter, and respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity of other nations. As a part of Wang Yi’s visit to South Asia, he also visited Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal.
  • On March 21, 2022, Wang Yi visited Pakistan. Wang Yi's participation at the 48th meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Council of Foreign Ministers in Pakistan has been hailed as significant, as it not only reaffirmed China's support for Pakistan, but further highlighted the emphasis of Islamic nations in Chinese foreign policy. Pakistan as a founding member of the OIC seeks to strengthen the OIC's positive relations with China. Wang Yi complimented Pakistan for hosting the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers discussion and stressed on Pakistan's role as a link between the Islamic world and eastern civilizations.
  • The participation of China's Foreign Minister further demonstrates the high level interactions between China and the Islamic world, as well as China's commitment towards improving relations with Islamic nations. In the current situation of fractured multilateralism therefore, it is critical for Islamic nations to deepen their solidarity and cooperation, and China is willing to collaborate with the Islamic world to promote real multilateralism, maintain the aims and values of the UN Charter, protect the international system with the UN at its heart, and walk hand in hand through thick and thin on the path of national rejuvenation.
  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was praised by both parties as it aided Pakistan's economic growth and propelled a shift towards geo-economics. Both sides agreed to take appropriate measures to make the best use of existing resources while increasing additional resources, consolidating the cooperative results of major energy, transportation, and infrastructure projects Moreover, the project aims to promote sound, comprehensive, sustainable, and high-quality development of the corridor in order to transform into an important engine of Pakistan's economic development. Therefore, the two countries should introduce more "small yet smart" projects to enhance people's livelihoods so that more Pakistani citizens benefit from China-Pakistan friendship.
  • The two sides agreed to step up security and counter-terrorism cooperation, clamp down on the "Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement" and other terrorist groups work together to combat terrorism's comeback in the region. The response to the terrorist assault in Dasu should be used by both parties as a chance to develop new holistic security measures and construct an advanced security cooperation structure. The security of Chinese people and projects in Pakistan, according to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi, is the country’s top concern. Pakistan prosecuted the culprits of the Dasu terrorist attack and ensured that such incidents do not occur again.
  • The two sides also discussed the situation in Ukraine, with both parties expressing concerns about the potential of unilateral sanctions by the west and to the unintended consequences related to the same. Both sides were in agreement that all parties must adhere to international law and the UN Charter's objective as they urged for a ceasefire through diplomatic channels. China and Pakistan believe that a comprehensive solution to the Ukrainian problem may be found on the basis of indivisible security in order to construct a balanced, effective, and long-term European security architecture.
  • Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi also visited Afghanistan on 25th March 2022. He engaged in discussions on various key issues with Taliban leaders and reaffirmed China's opposition to UN sanctions against the war-torn country, according to Chinese authorities.
  • Wang's secret visit, his first since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August, came a week before Beijing hosts a summit of Afghanistan's neighbours to discuss how to help the nation deal with its deepening humanitarian crisis and economic turmoil. According to a Taliban statement issued after the meeting, delegation-level talks between Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Wang focused on improving bilateral political, economic, and commercial ties.
  • Wang was quoted as saying that “China does not intend to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan nor does it want to hamper its interests through such interventions.” He further opposed the imposition of political and economic sanctions against Afghanistan.
  • Scholarships for Afghan students, visa concerns, the start of Chinese mining projects, and Afghanistan's involvement in Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) were the key areas of the discussion.
  • From the 25th -27th of March, 2022 Wang also visited Nepal. It was a Chinese delegations first high-level visit since Sher Bahadur Deuba took over as Prime Minister, but also the first by a Chinese official since Nepal approved the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) pact with the United States in February.
  • Chinese worries that United States' influence in the country has grown. The MCC dispute in Nepal reflected the Chinese fear about an expansion of American presence.
  • The US put pressure on Nepal to ratify the compact, threatening to sever ties with the country if Kathmandu did not. Meanwhile, China called the award a "Pandora's box" and voiced concern with its approval, stating that “no country should interfere in other country’s internal affairs, attach political strings, or engage in coercive diplomacy.”
  • During a recent visit to Kathmandu, Wang offered Nepal assistance in determining a "development path appropriate to its national circumstances, pursuing independent domestic and foreign policies" and engaging in deeper cooperation on Belt and Road Initiative projects.
  • During the visit Kathmandu signed the nine agreements with Beijing which includes technical assistance scheme for the China-aided feasibility study of the cross-border railway. There was another agreement on economic and technical cooperation, under which China would boost its yearly aid to Nepal from 13 billion to 15 billion and finance some projects that the two countries will agree on. A protocol on the safety and health conditions of haylage export from Nepal to China has also been agreed by both parties. Both countries also agreed on granting duty-free treatment to imported products in China for 98 percent of the time.
  • Wang also expressed concern about Nepal's internal political situation. He urged all Nepalese parties to engage in "inclusive consultation" and cooperation in order to "promote political stability and economic growth, and people's livelihood." Nepal's Foreign Minister, Narayan Khadka, took the initiative to unequivocally state that Nepal would not accept projects or aid nor would it allow any activities that undermine Chinese interests in Nepali territory. This is of grave significance since Sino-Indian relations are fading and the US is attempting to contain China.


Nichole Ballawar is a Senior visiting faculty at Government law College Nagpur. He has also worked with the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) as a Research Associate and Janes as a Defence Analyst. He has also worked with the Ministry of External Affairs as a China Research assistant and United Nations Development Program as an Intern. He worked with organisations like NIICE, The Diplomatist, 9dashline etc. and published various research papers. He is an author of various articles related to China, Nuclear non-proliferation and arms control.

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