Beijing: After weeks of speculation, India and China's foreign ministers today announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet President Xi Xinping in China next week to improve bilateral relations.
The two-day meet on April 27 and 28 will be an informal summit between President Xi and PM Modi during which both world leaders will try to reboot bilateral ties bogged down by a host of disputes and differences.
Sources tell NDTV the summit won't have any delegation structure; it will be more flexible so that the two leaders can have a more frank conversation. No agreements will be signed.
President Xi has invited PM Modi to iron out issues between the two neighbours, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, and added, "They will exchange views of strategic interaction and the future of our countries."
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is in Beijing for the two-day meeting of Foreign Ministers of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that starts tomorrow, has been laying the groundwork ahead of the PM's visit.
This will be PM Modi's fourth visit to China since he came to power in 2014. The prime minister will again be in China for the SCO summit in June.
India-China ties hit a new low during the Doklam stand off last year. Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam from June 16 after the Indian side stopped the Chinese Army from building of a road in the disputed tri-junction. The face-off ended on August 28.
Beijing has also been stonewalling India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group or the NSG and repeatedly blocking efforts at the UN to designate Masood Azhar, who heads the Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist.
But clearly, those irritants have been put aside for the moment and the tone is positive. In fact, India has gone out of its way to please Beijing in recent months, even telling officials to avoid Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama events in New Delhi.
PM Modi had last month phoned President Xi to congratulate him on his re-election, when both of them agreed that as two major powers growing rapidly, bilateral relations are vital for realisation of the 21st century as an "Asian century".
China is willing to keep up the good momentum of two-way cooperation with India, President Xi had said.
Just last week, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval made a surprise visit to Shanghai. A week before that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met her Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Moscow, where they discussed the situation along the nearly 4,000 km-border between the two countries.
China on its part said it will resume the sharing of river water data with India for the Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers. It will also allow Indian pilgrims to Kailash-Mansarovar through Nathu La in Sikkim after the route was closed last year amid Doklam standoff.
"The progress made in the last few months has also contributed to building trust and understanding in our bilateral engagement," said Ms Swaraj.