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Sushma Swaraj to hold talks with Chinese foreign minister in Beijing

Sushma Swaraj is also expected to interact with SCO foreign ministers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

world Updated: Apr 22, 2018 11:11 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj is in Beijing to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) foreign ministers’ meet.
Minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj is in Beijing to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) foreign ministers’ meet.(HT FILE PHOTO)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will hold key talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday evening in Beijing as the two countries continue efforts to improve bilateral ties in the aftermath of a military standoff near the Sikkim border last year.

Swaraj, who reached Beijing on Saturday night, is here to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) foreign ministers’ meet on Tuesday, in the run-up to the bloc’s summit in June.

India and Pakistan were admitted to the China-led bloc in 2017.

Swaraj is expected to interact with SCO foreign ministers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

The agenda for the SCO foreign ministers’ meet is broad and covers issues including regional security and terrorism.

“Security has been a priority of the SCO since its inception. So the upcoming SCO meeting will see participants exchanging views on relevant issues,” ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said on Friday.

Swaraj’s visit to Beijing — the first after Wang’s promotion — is being seen as crucial in the two neighbours’ efforts to reset ties in the aftermath of the Doklam military standoff last year.

Swaraj and Wang will lay the groundwork for the SCO summit in June, to be attended by PM Narendra Modi in the coastal city of Qingdao.

Swaraj’s visit also comes against the backdrop of growing speculation that Modi will have a meeting with President Xi Jinping in China in the days ahead.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman will arrive in Beijing on April 23 to take part in the SCO defence ministers’ meeting to be held the next day.

Sitharaman is also expected to meet her Chinese counterpart Lt Gen Wei Fenghe.