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PM to visit China, more high level meetings soon

Anirban Bhaumik, BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, July 2, 2013, DHNS: 2:31 IST

Khurshid calls it 'cherry on the cake'

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may visit China later this year, even as New Delhi and Beijing stepped up bilateral engagements, moving on from the border stand-off that hit the ties in April-May.

“We look forward to receiving Prime Minister Singh in Beijing later this year,” Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told journalists after a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on the sidelines of the Asean Regional Forum and East Asia Summit ministerial meet in Bandar Seri Begawan on Tuesday.

Khurshid described prime minister’s proposed visit to China as a “cherry on the cake” that would follow a series of high-level engagements over the next few months.

“China and India are natural strategic partners. We are two big countries and we have very important responsibilities to help maintain regional and global peace and stability,” said Wang.

During his visit to New Delhi soon after the three-week-long border stand-off at Depsang Bulge in Ladakh, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang invited Singh to visit Beijing “on a mutually convenient date”.

Khurshid and Wang, however, revealed on Tuesday that New Delhi and Beijing were in the process of scheduling the prime minister’s visit later this year itself.

Singh is likely to travel to Washington and New York next September, respectively for a bilateral visit to the US and to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
The prime minister may also travel to Indonesia for a bilateral visit and to Brunei Darussalam for the India-Asean summit in the first fortnight of October.

After reviewing the bilateral engagements on Tuesday, both Khurshid and Wang described as “successful” the recent 16th round of border talks between the two countries’ Special Representatives—National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi—in Beijing.

Defence Minister A K Antony is set to embark on a visit to China on Thursday. This will be
followed by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s visit to Beijing for the India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. Commerce Minister Anand Sharma is also set to visit Beijing for a meeting with his counterpart in China.

“This is like sowing the seed in spring and reaping the fruit in autumn,” said Wang, as he joined Khurshid to speak to the journalists after the meeting.

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