Seen as an ice-breaker, contentious issues are likely to be brushed under during the meeting
After feting SAARC Heads of State at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, the Ministry of External Affairs is readying to roll the red carpet for its first big visitor from outside the subcontinent — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Mr. Wang lands in New Delhi early Sunday morning and will fly out on Monday night with many meetings on the anvil.
On Sunday, he will meet with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, as the two leaders acquaint each other with the road ahead on Sino-Indian ties. On the agenda, according to sources, would be the meeting schedule for Special Representatives (SRs) to discuss the most pressing bilateral issue of resolving the border dispute between both the sides.
India is keen to narrow the vast trade deficit of $31 billion, even as the two countries close in on their goal of $100 billion bilateral trade by 2015. Commerce and Industry MoS Nirmala Sitharaman also tweeted that she had been briefed on bilateral trade issues by Indian Ambassador to China Ashok Kantha ahead of Mr. Wang's visit.
The two sides are also scheduled to talk about issues such as energy cooperation, Afghanistan and counter-terrorism, especially Jihadi terrorism, in the wake of a rise in attacks emanating from China's Xinjiang province.
“China and India both being victims of terrorism... face similar challenges in counter-terrorism,” said Mr. Wang in an exclusive interview to The Hindu in Beijing. “China stands ready to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation with India to better safeguard the common security interests of the two countries,” he added.
Mr. Wang and Ms. Swaraj, who are expected to hold a joint press conference after their meeting, will also initiate preparations for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit later this year to Delhi.
Mr. Wang will call on President Pranab Mukherjee and NSA Ajit Doval on Monday. China is keen to have President Mukherjee attend a special commemoration of 60 years of the Panchsheel Treaty in Beijing on June 28th. Mr. Modi will also meet with Mr. Wang on Monday, and set the course ahead of his own trip to the BRICS summit in Brazil in July, where he will meet President Xi.
Officials said Mr. Wang’s trip is essentially an ice-breaker for the two countries, and contentious issues, including Tibet, hydel projects on the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra, and Mr. Modi's tough stand on Arunachal Pradesh during his campaign are unlikely to come up. It is considered significant, however, that the new government included the Prime Minister of the Tibetan-Govt in exile Lobsang Sangay at Mr. Modi's oath of office ceremony in May.