External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday in Beijing, a day after the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to China. This was the first meeting between Swaraj and Xi after the latter’s elevation to the status of ‘president for life’.
The two leaders were seen warmly shaking hands and having a brief chat before posing for photographers ahead of their meeting.
“China regards boosting the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as one of its diplomatic priorities,” Xi said during his meeting with foreign ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation of which India is a member state. The director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Executive Committee was also in the meeting.
Swaraj, who arrived in China on Saturday evening, held a crucial bilateral meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday evening in which it was decided that PM Modi will be visiting China on 27 April for a meeting with Xi in Wuhan.
“The informal Summit will be an important occasion for them to exchange views on bilateral and international matters from an over-arching and long-term perspective with the objective of enhancing mutual communication at the level of leaders,” Swaraj had said in a press briefing after the meeting.
In his address, Wang Yi said that the meeting between Xi and Modi will be “a complete success and a milestone” in the relationship between the two countries.
The focus of the meeting, the two ministers said, will be on terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, global healthcare, etc.
Before meeting President Xi, Swaraj called on Chinese vice-President Wang Qishan at Zhongnanhai in the Chinese capital.
Earlier today, Swaraj met her Kyrgyz and Uzbek counterparts and discussed cooperation in a number of key areas including trade and investments.
On the sidelines of the 2018 SCO summit, Swaraj held talks with Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev and discussed cooperation in trade and investment, IT, defence, films, HRD, culture and other areas.
Similar discussions were also held with Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov in a separate meeting.
In a special session held with Chinese students of Hindi language, Swaraj called for the need for the people of the two nations to learn each other’s language to overcome the communication barriers and strengthen the relationship between India and China.
“When two friends sit together, what do they want? They want to talk their hearts out to each other, share what they feel. And for that we need a language. I should be able to understand Chinese when you speak, and you should be able to understand Hindi when I talk,” Swaraj said.
“If there is an interpreter sitting between two friends, he may be able to translate the words but not the feelings with which I say something. So, it is essential that we learn a language, and understand it,” she added.
PM Modi is also scheduled to visit Qingdao in north-eastern China, near the Korean peninsula, in June for the SCO summit.
Pakistan is one of the member states in the eight-nation SCO. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have an observer status.
The Union Minister, who is on a four-day China visit, will be leaving for Mongolia for a two-day visit on 25 April – a first by an Indian EAM in 42 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Mongolia in May 2015.