Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj departed from New Delhi on Saturday morning for her six-day visit to China and Mongolia to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, which has been scheduled for April 24. She will meet her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday. She will proceed to Mongolia after spending four days in China.
On Wednesday, China had said that its relations with India have seen “great strides” and the upcoming Swaraj’s visit will further enhance “political trust” between the two countries. “We believe Swaraj’s visit will further enhance political trust between the two countries and elevate the China-India strategic cooperation partnership,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said.
Talks between Swaraj and Yi will take place in order to take forward attempts by both countries to reset ties strained by last year’s 73-day Doklam military standoff as well as a host of other issues. Both the leaders will exchange views on bilateral ties, international and regional issues of mutual concern. Swaraj is also scheduled to take part in the Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on April 24 besides meeting Chinese Hindi scholars and students.
Swaraj and Wang will be meeting for the first time after his elevation last month as the State Councillor, which makes him the top diplomat in the Chinese hierarchy. Wang will hold the dual posts of the State Councillor and Foreign Minister.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Niramala Sitharaman is also scheduled to attend the SCO summit on April 24.
These are the first SCO meetings after India and Pakistan were admitted into the eight-member group in which China and Russia play an influential role. The events will be attended by the respective Ministers from Pakistan. SCO consists of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also due to attend this year’s SCO summit to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June.