Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Sitharaman to arrive in Beijing on 24 April, will attend meetings ahead of SCO Summit

Beijing:  External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman are scheduled to be in Beijing on 24 April to attend different meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and interact with their counterparts from the member states.

The eight-member SCO, in which India was the latest entrant along with Pakistan, is due to hold its summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June. Prime minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the summit and also hold talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Sitharaman to arrive in Beijing on 24 April, will attend meetings ahead of SCO Summit

File image of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. AP

The SCO comprised China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

Ahead of the summit, the organisation which is focused on anti-terrorism cooperation is holding a host of ministerial and officials' meetings to work out a firm agenda for the summit to provide a new direction to the grouping.

SCO Foreign and Defence Ministers meetings are scheduled on the same day on 24 April and almost around the same time, according to officials in Beijing.

In New Delhi, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that after the SCO ministerial meet in China, Swaraj will visit Mongolia. The visits of Swaraj and Sitharaman are the first high-profile visits by Indian ministers after last year's 73-day long standoff at Doka La.

The two ministers are expected to hold bilateral meetings with their Chinese and other counterparts.

Since December, the two sides are trying to reset relations and looking to iron out differences on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and China blocking the efforts to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN.

Besides the two ministers, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is also expected to visit China in the coming weeks. Both sides attach a lot of significance to these meetings to reset their ties as they were taking place after President Xi has commenced his second-five-year tenure last month with the prospect of continuing in power for life, following the removal of the two-term limit for the president.

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Updated Date: Apr 13, 2018 09:29:35 IST

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