China to host 3rd Trans-Himalaya Forum near India border, Pak FM among attendees

Trans-Himalaya Forum 2021 event. [FIle Photo]

On October 4-5, China is set to host the 3rd Trans-Himalayan Forum for International Cooperation near India’s Arunachal Pradesh border, with Pakistan, an enduring ally of China, among the participants.

This forum, established in 2018 under Beijing’s initiative to foster cooperation among Himalayan region nations, includes member nations such as Pakistan, Mongolia, and Afghanistan.

This year’s meeting will take place in Nyingchi, Tibet, an area under Chinese administration located just 160 km from India’s northeastern province, Arunachal Pradesh.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani has confirmed his attendance, stating, “At the special invitation of the Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani is visiting China to participate in the 3rd Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation, being held in Nyingchi, Tibet Autonomous Region, from 4-5 October.”

Jilani is scheduled to address the forum’s opening ceremony and engage in sideline meetings with his Chinese and Afghan counterparts, as well as the deputy prime minister of Mongolia.

While the forum was originally established to address various regional issues, including connectivity, this year’s meeting focuses on ‘Ecological Civilization and Environmental Protection.’ It also marks the first in-person meeting since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, this meeting near the Arunachal Pradesh border occurs during a period of heightened tension in Sino-Indian relations. Both countries are engaged in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, has publicly acknowledged that Sino-Indian relations have been strained since the clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020, which resulted in the loss of 20 Indian soldiers’ lives.

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