Sushma Swaraj arrives in China for talks with Wang Yi, SCO meet


External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in China on Saturday on a four-day visit to take part in the foreign ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). "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. Mr Wang was promoted to the post of State Councillor during China's annual parliamentary session last month.

Following the Dokalam standoff previous year both countries increased dialogue to scale down tensions and improve relations with talks at various levels.

Meanwhile, on the same day, Sitharaman will take part in the SCO defence ministers' meeting.

This is the first meeting of the group after India and Pakistan were admitted into the SCO previous year. The ministerial meeting will finalise agenda and set tone for SCO summit to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June.

India and Pakistan were formally admitted to the SCO, a Eurasian political, economic, and security outfit comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in June past year.

Their meeting is part of efforts by the two countries to step up the pace of high-level interactions to improve relations, official sources here told PTI.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues spanning bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, ANI reported. Ms. Swaraj is likely to have a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi along the sidelines of the SCO.

The talks were aimed at laying the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China later in the year.

Swaraj's visit was preceded by national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval's trip to Shanghai. She is also expected to meet some Chinese scholars and students learning Hindi. The last visit of Indian External Affairs Minister to Mongolia was 42 years ago as DD News reported.