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SCO summit: Sushma, Sitharaman scheduled to be in Beijing on April 24

By Pti
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    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are scheduled to be in Beijing on April 24 to attend different meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and interact with their counterparts from the member states.

    Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman

    The eight-member SCO, in which India was a 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.

    The SCO comprised of 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 April 24 and almost around the same time, according to officials here.

    The visits of Swaraj and Sitharaman are the first high-profile visits by Indian ministers after last year's 73-day long standoff at Doklam.

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

    Since December, the two sides are trying to reset the 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-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN.

    Besides the two ministers, National Security Advisor 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.

    PTI

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