Sitharaman attends SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting

Sitharaman attends SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting
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Beijing: Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting here on Tuesday.

“Smt @nsitharaman attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Beijing, China,” the Indian Defence Ministry spokesperson tweeted.

Sitharaman, who arrived here on Modnay, is also scheduled to meet her Chinese counterpart during the course of her visit.

Sitharaman is here at the same time as Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who also attended the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Tuesday.

The SCO is a Eurasian inter-governmental organisation, the creation of which was announced in 2001 in Shanghai by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.

India, along with Pakistan, were granted full member status at the SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, in June last year.

Sitharaman, who arrived here on Monday, is also scheduled to meet her Chinese c ounterpart during the course of her visit.

India-China ties were severely hit by the 73-day military stand-off in Doklam last year. Both sides are now trying to restore normalcy to their ties by stepping up bilateral exchanges.

China’s opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and its move to block bids at the UN to list Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group, as a global terrorist, has irked New Delhi.

In addition, New Delhi has reservations about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which cuts through Pakistan-held Kashmir that is claimed by India.

The visit of Sitharaman and Suhma Swaraj comes ahead of an informal meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in China on April 27-28.

IANS