Chinese President Xi Jinping has appointed senior diplomat Luo Zhaohui as Beijing’s new ambassador to India.

The 54-year-old Luo, who served as Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan and Canada in the past, also worked as Third and Second Secretary in Chinese Embassy in New Delhi from 1989 to1993. The former Director General of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Asian Affairs will take the charge from Le Yucheng soon.

According to sources close to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the appointment of Luo indicates a change in Beijing’ policy towards India, as China is trying hard to resolve outstanding bilateral issues with its southern neighbour in the changing geopolitical scenario in Asia.

Meanwhile, the International Business Times (IBT) has reported that the two Asian powers will hold a joint military exercise, amid growing India-Pakistan tensions. The American daily also reported that Indian and Chinese forces would take part in the joint exercise in eastern Ladakh in the last week of October.

In New Delhi, the Indian Defence Ministry sources have said that the main aim of the exercise is to bring peace and tranquillity in the region. The two fastest growing Asian economies, who fought a war in 1962, have decided to hold the joint exercise at a time when clashes between India and neighbouring Pakistan have escalated in Kashmir. Although India, Pakistan and China have competing claims to the region, Beijing has decided to stay out of the dispute, saying that it is a bilateral issue, and New Delhi and Islamabad will have to resolve the dispute peacefully.

Pakistan has always maintained cordial ties with China – the only Asian nation with a bigger population, economy and military than India. China has not only invested USD 46 billion in Pakistan, but has also built the South Asian country’s nuclear reactors. The proximity between China and Pakistan worries India, which has expressed concern about Beijing’s growing military co-operation with Islamabad. Even, New Delhi has started seeking partners to balance China’s growing influence in the region.

As far Sino-Indian ties are concerned, both the countries have taken various steps to maintain peace in the region. India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has met newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to New Delhi Luo to discuss different aspects of bilateral ties. At the meeting, the two officials stressed upon the importance of bilateral co-operation in different sectors, saying that India and China, being nuclear powerful neighbours, have the responsibility to ensure regional peace and stability.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]