Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh is all set to attend the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Beijing scheduled on June 18 and 19. VK Singh’s visit comes weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to lower the temperature in Astana. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader’s visit is aimed resorting India’s strained relationship with China. Speaking to The Indian Express, a government sources said that this was an attempt to bring relations between the two countries back to normal. China has took a strong exception to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in April this year.
The IE report also stated that China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not attend the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting of foreign minister held in April reportedly over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal. The BRICS meeting was to be hosted by Sushma Swaraj, however VK Singh has taken over the baton as the External Affairs Minister has just overcome a liver transplant and is health-wise not fit to travel overseas.
The decision to send VK Singh to China comes in the wake of a positive and cordial meeting between PM Modi and Xi which took place in Astana in Beijing. As per source, PM Modi, against the security protocol, took a flexible approached and went ahead to meet the Chinese president at a hotel where is way staying. The two leaders had a 40 minutes long meeting last week which was way longer than their last meeting in Goa during the BRICS summit.
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Soon after the meeting in Astana last week, Foreign secretary S Jaishankar had said, “There was also an understanding that where we have differences, differences should not become disputes. In fact, if handled well, can even become an opportunity.”
Xi conducted the meeting with a lighter note and even praised the Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal that has become popular in China. However, the report also quoted government sources cautioned against the excessive optimism as many hotbed issues are still pending between the two countries and much work needs to be done to resolve them.