The foreign ministers of India and China will meet in August or September to prepare the ground for the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in India later this year, Acquino Vimal, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Beijing, said on Monday. While the date for the next Modi-Xi informal summit has not been fixed yet, Vimal said it would be preceded by a series of engagements between the two nations.

‘’The second meeting of the high-level people-to-people and cultural exchanges mechanism, headed by the two foreign ministers, will take place in China in August or September…the first meeting had taken place in New Delhi in December last year,’’ the official told a group of Indian journalists on the sidelines of the ‘China International Big Data Industry Expo’ taking place in Guiyang, China.

He said a series of engagements were planned between the two countries prior to the Modi-Xi summit. ‘’We will have to prepare for it (summit)…it’s not like catching a bus.’’

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The Indian diplomat noted that the two countries had achieved a tremendous progress since the first informal summit between the two leaders in the Chinese city of Wuhan in April last year. ‘’The idea of any summit is to make sure that you consolidate the relationship by preparing a roadmap for future engagements.’’

Asked if any meetings between Modi and Xi were planned on the margins of the SCO Summit in Kyrgyzstan and the G-20 Summit in Japan in June, he said: “we will have to wait and see.’’

On whether there could be a change in India’s stand on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Vimal said New Delhi had taken a conscious decision on BRI and there was no change in its position. India has boycotted China’s grand initiative on the ground that the BRI’s main project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

He did not attach much significance to the fact that there was no mention of the Pulwama terror attack when the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council recently blacklisted JeM chief Masood Azhar after China lifted its technical hold on banning the dreaded terrorist. ‘’What is important for us is his (Azhar’s) listing…we have achieved what we wanted so that the world realises the terror and mayhem India has been subjected to.’’

On the massive trade deficit between the two countries in China’s favour, Vimal said Indian companies would have to become more aggressive in the Chinese market. ‘’The Chinese are in no way obstructing Indian companies…there are no India-specific policies. So, our companies will have to make efforts.’’

In this connection, Vimal pointed out that Indian pharma companies were concentrating on European markets and have a limited presence in China.