Nirmala Sitharaman may visit China in April
New Delhi: India is looking at dates for a visit to China by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in a move seen as a major confidence-building measure, coming as it does after the 73-day-long tense military standoff between the Asian giants last year.
The visit was confirmed by Sitharaman herself on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi. She said the visit could take place late April, with a person familiar with the development saying the dates for the trip were still being worked out.
The minister’s Beijing trip will be one of the highest-level exchanges between the two countries since they were engaged in the military standoff in Dokalam in Bhutan last year.
India has, in recent weeks, been looking at steps to stabilise its ties with China, rocked by the Dokalam crisis as well as other irritants since 2015. Earlier this month, a news report in The Indian Express said that the Indian foreign secretary had written a letter to cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha in which he had asked state leaders and officials to stay away from the functions of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan government in exile headquartered in Dharamshala was planning events to commemorate 60 years of the Dalai Lama’s flight to India after a failed uprising against the Chinese government.
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