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China’s foreign minister to meet Narendra Modi on June 8

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-05-2014 PTI

New Delhi: China’s foreign minister Wang Yi will arrive in India on 8 June as special envoy of his government to formally establish contacts with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation and deepen ties between the two countries. China has officially conveyed its decision to send Wang, a seasoned diplomat, to greet Modi and interact with foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

China on Tuesday expressed keen interest in establishing high-level contacts with India’s new leadership at the earliest to step up engagement in political, trade and economic areas. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was expected to have a telephone talk with Modi. Officials of both the countries are currently working on a convenient time for the two leaders to speak with each other.

“China attaches high importance to relations with India and is ready to work with the new Indian government to maintain high-level contacts,” China’s influential state councillor Yang Jiechi told India’s ambassador Ashok K. Kantha during a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday.

China has already conveyed its interest in having a top Indian leader attend the 60th anniversary of Panchasheel, the five principles enunciated jointly by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his then Chinese counterpart Zhou Enlai in 1954.

China is hosting a function to mark the occasion on 28 June in which high-level delegation from Myanmar, which too was associated with Panchasheel concept, is expected to participate.

China had already conveyed to India Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wish to visit New Delhi after the Lok Sabha elections. Xi and Modi will have an opportunity to meet during the next BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) meet to be held in Brazil in July.

Last year, Chinese Premier Li made New Delhi his first stop abroad after he took over the high office to convey the importance China’s leadership attached to improving relations with India. Modi’s first trip abroad will be keenly watched.

On Monday, Li congratulated Modi after he was sworn-in. China views India as a “natural cooperative partner” and it is ready to work with the new Narendra Modi-led government to take their strategic cooperative partnership to a “new level”, Li said.

Chinese leadership shared familiarity with Modi as he visited China four times during his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat. His victory in the general elections was widely welcomed in Chinese official media.

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