Third meeting among security advisers of the BRICS countries scheduled

The escalating crisis in Syria and taking forward India-China relations in the wake of the leadership transition here will figure high on the agenda as Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo heads to New Delhi on Wednesday for two days of talks.

The visit of Mr. Dai, China’s top diplomat and who will retire in March as the once-in-ten-year leadership transition process in China concludes, will provide a platform for both countries “to exchange views on bilateral issues and matters of common interest,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a briefing on Monday.

While Mr. Dai will hold talks with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon — his counterpart as the Special Representative on the boundary issue — the main event during this week’s trip will be the third meeting between the security advisers of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on Thursday and Friday, Mr. Hong said.

China and Russia are expected to use this week’s meeting to put out a statement on Syria against the backdrop of Monday’s rejection by Western countries of the proposal put forth on Sunday by embattled President Bashar al-Assad, amid an escalating crisis.

While the United States has said that any political solution would remain impossible unless the President steps aside, China on Monday repeated its calls for both the Syrian government and the opposition “to take a practical approach in truly resolving the issue… and formulate a road map through consultation.”

China and Russia last year vetoed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council — one that was backed by India — for Mr. Assad to step down. Mr. Hong of the Foreign Ministry said on Monday that China was “open to any resolution that is acceptable to all parties in Syria.” China and Russia will hold bilateral consultations here on Tuesday and Wednesday at their annual strategic dialogue, and will coordinate their position ahead of the BRICS meeting, during which, officials said, Syria would figure high on the agenda.

On the bilateral front, both Mr. Dai and Mr. Menon held extensive talks in Beijing only last month, during which they took stock of the relationship as a new generation of leaders takes over in Beijing. Mr. Menon said during his Beijing visit both the countries had agreed to prepare a “common understanding” report reviewing the past 15 rounds of talks on the boundary question. “We found, overall, when we looked at the relationship and discussions on the boundary that we have already made considerable progress,” he said. “There is work still to be done, both sides recognise that, and we have not allowed the boundary to prevent all-round development of relations.”

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