Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Friday held talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, who is on a four-day visit to New Delhi, PTI reported. The two leaders are meeting under a new framework which was agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during an informal summit in Wuhan in April.
“The High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges” is expected to deepen cultural exchanges and engagement between people of the two countries. “Age old links have been reinforced with increased contacts and exchanges between our peoples in contemporary times,” Modi said in a message.
Swaraj and Wang agreed on “ten pillars” of cooperation to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Wang said people-to-people exchanges must increase between Beijing and Delhi. “We agreed to leverage strengths in respective fields,” Wang said at a press conference. “People to people exchanges should be of the people and for the people. It is a major initiative in the history of India and China relations.”
Swaraj said she was satisfied with the quality of discussion that took place on Friday. “Ten priorities we discussed included enhancing cooperation in films, education, art, tourism, yoga, sports, academic, media, culture and youth exchanges,” she said.
Swaraj said the two countries are working towards strengthening the communication between the armies and implement measures to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas. “I am confident that the new mechanism will help both the countries in building greater synergies in bilateral ties,” she said.
The external affairs minister said New Delhi and Beijing had made good progress in bilateral ties in 2018 and an “ambitious agenda” was being prepared for 2019. “We are confident that the visit of Xi Jinping to India next year for the second informal summit will add another new facet to our continuously expanding ties,” she added.
The meeting between Modi and Xi in April came seven months after the Doklam standoff in 2017. The Doklam plateau, near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, was the site of a 74-day-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops from June to August 2017. Since the standoff ended, both countries have maintained that talks are on to improve troubled ties.