Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Attend Summit In Beijing, Set Stage For PM Modi, Xi Jinping To Meet This Week

Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman are in Beijing to attend the SCO foreign and defence ministers' meet. Member countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation include China, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan.

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Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Attend Summit In Beijing, Set Stage For PM Modi, Xi Jinping To Meet This Week

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today held talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi


Beijing:  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are in Beijing to attend the foreign and defence ministers' meet organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO. Both meetings, which began this morning, are being held simultaneously.

Member countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation include China, India, Russia,  Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan.

Sushma Swaraj, who arrived in Beijing three days ahead of the SCO meet, along with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Indian Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale have laid the groundwork for a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week.
 
The top-level meet between PM Modi and President Xi is aimed at deepening ties and ironing out issues in the aftermath of the Doklam standoff which had lasted 73 days (2 months, 1 week and 5 days). Both countries also aim to take forward their economic ties and progress on talks with regard to the boundary dispute. The main aim however, will be to build on trust between the two nations and their governments.

China on Monday said President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also discuss the threat of rising protectionism and the unprecedented changes in the world in the past 100 years at their summit in Wuhan on April 27 and 28.
 
narendra modi xi jinping

PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on Friday, April 27 (File)

Prime Minister Modi and President Xi are also expected to discuss long-standing issues like India's membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and China blocking efforts at the United Nations to list terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

Bilateral ties between India and China have also soured because of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which is an integral part of India.

Nirmala Sitharaman, who arrived in Beijing last night, attended the defence ministers' meeting this morning, while Sushma Swaraj took part in the foreign ministers' meet. Both meetings were being held as part of the preparations for the SCO summit to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June, which PM Modi is also likely to attend.
 
These are the first top ministerial-level meetings of the SCO after the admission of India and Pakistan as members last year. A number of issues, including regional security and terrorism were on the agenda for discussion at today's meetings. It also sets focus and prepares the agenda for the SCO summit in June.

Including his visit later this week, and should he visit again in June, Prime Minister Modi will have traveled to China five times in four years. President Xi Jinping has also traveled to India, and both leaders have met a couple of times overseas. This highlights the importance China and India give each other and in strengthening their ties.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is headquartered in Beijing, was founded in 2001. It aims at military cooperation between the member states and involves intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia and joint work against cyber terrorism.

(With inputs from PTI)
 


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