NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Chinese president Xi Jinping, Vice-President Wang Qishan and other senior officials on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting which began in Beijing Monday. Sushma’s meeting with Xi came a day after the two countries announced an ‘informal’ summit meeting between Xi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Wuhan on April 27-28.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was also expected in Beijing on Monday to attend the SCO defence ministers meeting on Tuesday, and she will meet her Chinese counterpart Lt Gen Wei Fenghe as well the other Defence ministers attending the summit. A senior official in Delhi said these were “clear signs that both nations honestly want to put the acrimony of the past behind, and try and resolve outstanding issues diplomatically and peacefully. Now it is a question of rebuilding trust, which has taken a battering of late,” he said.
Swaraj also met other foreign ministers including from Kyrgyzstan, and is expected to meet other SCO foreign ministers. India and Pakistan were admitted as full members of the SCO in June last year.
In line with the Indian position that talks and terror cannot go together, neither Swaraj nor Sitharaman will hold bilateral meetings with their Pakistani counterparts in Beijing. Swaraj leaves Tuesday for Mongolia —the first visit by an Indian foreign minister to that country.