External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will hold talks with Communist Party of China (CPC) Polit Bureau Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang and State Councillor Dai Bingguo here on Wednesday in a visit aimed at boosting relations between the neighbours.
China appears to have laid out the red carpet for Mr. Krishna, arranging four high-level meetings for the minister in one day – a rare occurrence, according to diplomats.
Besides an already firmed-up lunch meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, Mr. Krishna will meet China’s top security czar, Mr. Zhou, who sits on the powerful Polit Bureau Standing Committee and is China’s ninth highest-ranked politician.
Mr. Krishna will also meet Chinese State Councillor and top diplomat Dai Bingguo, who was in New Delhi last month as China’s Special Representative on the boundary talks. He will also hold discussions with the head of the CPC Central Committee’s International Department, Wang Jiarui.
On Wednesday evening, Mr. Krishna will attend the inauguration of the new Indian Embassy building in Beijing’s Liangmaqiao area. The 13,500 square-metre, $10 million compound, officials said, was designed to provide a new home, after 42 years, for the Indian mission in China to cater to expanding demands of a growing relationship.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday afternoon Mr. Krishna would hold talks with Mr. Yang, the Chinese Foreign Minister. “With respect to specific issues that come up during the talks, we will release information after the talks,” he said.
Officials said both sides will cover a range of issues, not confined to the bilateral relationship.
Mr. Krishna’s visit comes days after China and Russia found themselves isolated in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after vetoing a resolution on Syria, which India, along with the rest of the UNSC’s 13 members, had backed.
The resolution, diplomats said, underscored a new rift appearing between India, China and other emerging nations that had earlier stood together against the West on many global diplomatic issues, such as last year’s vote on Libya. One Western diplomat said there seemed to be a division among the BRICS grouping, with India, Brazil and South Africa appearing to increasingly take a different line from the other two members.
Syria, Iran and Afghanistan are likely to figure in Mr. Krishna’s lunch-time talks with Mr. Yang.
Mr. Liu, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, reiterated China’s displeasure at the UNSC going ahead with the Syria vote even as “disagreements” between members persisted.
“We believe the UNSC’s actions should help ease tensions and help promote dialogue,” he said.