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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping will meet later this week on April 27th and 28th in an “informal meeting” in Wuhan.

After the 73-day standoff at Doklam, India and China are trying to reset their bilateral relations and set a precedent of political camaraderie. It is also being speculated that the Modi-Xi meet will as significant as the meet between Rajiv Gandhi and Deng Xiaoping in 1988.

A statement from the Ministry said that the two leaders will refrain from signing an agreement or MoUs. However, the meet will be focused on reaching consensus on various aspects of bilateral relations. 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.

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.

External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are in Beijing to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit 2018. The two senior ministers from India also held meetings yesterday with their counterparts in two different sessions. The high-level meet at the SCO is trying to set the stage for the upcoming informal meet between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier met with her counterpart Wang Yi and had also called on to Vice President Wang Qishan. She discussed extensively on a host of bilateral issues and also discussed ways to step up the relations between India and China. At foreign ministers meet, she addressed her counterparts from China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Uzbekistan, the Secretary-General of SCO and the Executive Director of SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS).

In her address, Swaraj asserted that India was committed to strengthening economic and investment ties with all the nations and that it was the need of the hour to combat the threat of global terrorism. She also said that the fight against terrorism should not only seek to eliminate terrorists but should also identify and take action stringent against countries that sponsor them and encourage them by providing safe havens.She also urged the United Nations Security Council to take strong measures against states encouraging and financing terrorism while combating global terrorism. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj also stressed upon the need for countries to converge on issues pertaining to energy, climate change and public health.

Minister Sushma Swaraj who has been in Beijing for past three days has been constantly steering India’s case to build better relations with China. She is being assisted by Gautam Bambawale, the Indian High Commissioner at China in laying a concrete groundwork ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who arrived in Beijing two days ago, also attended the SCO defence minister’s meeting yesterday. The meeting was held simultaneously with the foreign minister’s meeting which Sushma Swaraj attended. Addressing the gathering at the SCO meeting, Sitharaman said, “India will participate strongly in SCO’s Peace Mission and we believe that cooperation in SCO framework will help further strengthen India’s bilateral defence ties in the region”.

The defence minister’s meeting discussed issues related to regional security and growing threat of terrorism. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also held a bilateral meeting with General Wei Fenghe, Minister of Defence of China, in Beijing. She condemned the political establishments that provided an alibi for terrorist organisations and called for a joint partnership to combat terrorism and its financial network systems.

Though, both the meeting of foreign ministers and the meeting of defence ministers did not engage in bilateral talks with other member nations of the SCO, it did set the agenda for PM Modi’s China visit. The meeting of Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping will seek to address a number of issues varying from bilateral trading, economy, border stability, regional security and also terrorism. In the aftermath of the Doklam standoff, the top level meeting will also seek to further strengthen ties and iron out bilateral issues. The main agenda of the meet will be to actually build trust between India and China.

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 April 2018

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