Beijing, Apr 17 (PTI) The India-China rapprochement post-Dokalam is set to pick up pace as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is due to visit here this weekend to take part in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the SCO and hold talks with her Chinese counterpart on its sidelines.
Swaraj, who will arrive here on April 21 for a four-day visit, will hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on April 22 to take forward attempts by both countries to reset ties strained by last year’s 73-day Dokalam military standoff as well as a host of other issues.
The issues of discord include the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being built through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, China blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as well as its opposition to efforts to list Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
This will be Swaraj’s first meeting with Wang after he was elevated last month to be state councillor, which makes him the top diplomat in the Chinese hierarchy. He holds the dual posts of state councillor and foreign minister.
She is also scheduled take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting on April 24 besides meeting Chinese Hindi scholars and students, official sources here said.
Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be visiting China virtually around the same time. Sitharaman is also due to take part in the SCO defence ministers’ meeting on April 24.
The SCO meetings are a prelude to the summit of the eight-member group in which India and Pakistan have become new members.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to take part in the SCO summit to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June.
Foreign and defence ministers of Pakistan are also expected to attend the April 24 meetings.
SCO, in which China plays an influential role, is comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
The visit of Swaraj and Sitharaman were taking place as India and China stepped up high level exchanges to defuse tensions following the Dokalam standoff.
Ahead of Swaraj’s talks with Wang, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met Director of China’s Foreign Affairs Commission and member of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Yang Jiechi in Shanghai on April 13 during which the two sides held in-depth talks on improving relations.
Both sides also held the 11th Joint Economic Group meeting and the fifth Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED).
Besides meetings between officials from the two foreign ministries, both sides held working mechanism meeting on border affairs and cross border rivers as well Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Dialogue in which India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group was discussed.
Commenting on the meetings, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told media here yesterday that bilateral ties between both countries “this year” are developing with sound momentum and a number of meetings between top officials have “seen” new progress and all round cooperation.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.