Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and said China and India have taken “solid steps” to make new progress in bilateral ties besides implementing the agreements reached between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I have full confidence in India-China relations and I believe that new progress will be achieved in growing this bilateral relationship in this new year,” Xi told Swaraj, who called on him at the cavernous Great Hall of the People on her maiden visit to the communist nation after she assumed charge last year.
Xi said that since his visit to India in September last year, relations between the two countries have entered into a new stage of growth.
“The positive side of India-China relations has been growing and momentum of our cooperation has been strengthening and solid steps are being taken to implement agreements reached between Prime Minister Modi and I,” he said as he welcomed the 62-year-old senior BJP leader.
One such solid step taken was yesterday’s exchange of notes on modalities for opening the second route for the Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra in Tibet via Sikkim by June that will allow more Indians to undertake the pilgrimage.
Xi had promised opening the new route to Modi during the former’s maiden visit to New Delhi last year.
Recalling fond memories of his India visit, Xi told Swaraj: “Last September I visited India and cherish fresh memories about the gracious hospitality extended to me by government and people of India.
“In particular, I cherish the memories of Prime Minister Modi’s home province Gujarat and Prime Minister himself accompanied me on that trip.”
The 61-year-old Chinese President, who is also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party, conveyed his best wishes to the Indian leadership.
Swaraj, who is on a four-day visit here, held marathon talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi yesterday on key issues and emphasised that maintenance of peace and tranquillity at the border was a pre-requisite for the development of ties.
It was also announced that Prime Minister Modi will embark on an “outcome-driven” maiden visit to China before May 26, when his party completes one year in office.
Modi has had three successful meetings with Xi, the most important being during the latter’s visit to India in September last year.
Xi is expected to take him to Xian, capital of his home province Shaanxi, to recreate the bonhomie generated by Modi who had taken the Chinese President to Ahmedabad, the capital of his home state Gujarat.