India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is slated to hold bilateral talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during her two-day China visit, which will begin on Saturday, 21 April.
Sushma Swaraj will meet Wang on the sidelines of the foreign ministers’ meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO).
Swaraj, who will be arriving in China on April 21, is expected to meet Wang on April 22. She is scheduled to take part in the SCO Foreign Ministers meeting on April 24, official sources in Beijing said.
This will be their first meeting since Wang’s elevation last month as the State Councillor, which makes him the top diplomat in the Chinese hierarchy. He will hold the dual posts of the State Councillor and Foreign Minister.
After her China visit, Sushma will travel to Magnolia. Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are visiting China virtually around the same time. Sitharaman is due to take part in the SCO Defence Ministers meeting on April 24.
The SCO comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
Visits by Swaraj and Sitharaman are taking place as India and China have stepped up high-level exchanges to defuse tensions following last year’s Dokalam standoff.
India-China ties were severely hit by the 73-day military stand-off near their border in 2017.
China’s opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and its application at the UN to have Pakistani terrorist Masood Azhar banned irks New Delhi.
In addition to that, New Delhi has reservations about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which cuts through the disputed Kashmir held by Islamabad.
After the military face-off in 2017, both sides are trying to restore normalcy to their ties by stepping up bilateral exchanges.
Sushma Swaraj, whose last visit to China was in 2015, is also likely to be meet the other top Chinese leaders.
In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit.
(With inputs from agencies)