Sushma holds talks with Chinese counterpart

Sushma holds talks with Chinese counterpart

India and China agreed to continue bilateral engagements to "expand mutual understanding" as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in New Delhi on Monday.

"Foreign Minister Wang Yi and I agreed that we should further strengthen our mutual trust to develop a better understanding between the two parties," said Sushma, who had a bilateral meeting Chinese Foreign Minister before hosting the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral talks.

"And it will be better to meet again and without agenda, which will help us to expand our mutual understanding," she said while addressing the media along with Wang and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

This was the first meeting between Sushma and Wang after the 72-day-long face-off between the Indian Army and People's Liberation Army of China ended on August 28.

The face-off further strained the bilateral ties, which were already plagued by several irritants, including China's policy of shielding terrorists based in Pakistan from United Nations sanctions and blocking India's bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

New Delhi has also been opposed to Beijing's Belt-and-Road cross-continental connectivity initiative, particularly to its key component China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The corridor is proposed to pass through areas India claims as its own but accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying. Beijing has been upset over India's growing strategic convergence with the US and Japan in Indo-Pacific.

Though the face-off ended in Doklam Plateau, the Chinese PLA purportedly made new bunkers and reinforced the forward posts near China-India-Bhutan trilateral junction, and making a departure from past practice, is unlikely to withdraw soldiers during the winter months.

Sushma and Wang exchanged views on bilateral relations and the ways to add fresh momentum.

Wang argued for a political settlement to resolve "hotspot and difficult issues" and also said that China was always in favour of "dialogue and consultations" with India to resolve outstanding issues.

Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said that Sushma-Wang dialogue had imparted "fresh momentum" to India-China bilateral relations.

He said the meeting had been "positive and forward-looking".

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