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DIPLOMACY

Foreign Ministry prepares for India trip, first since Modi takes office

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:20am
 

China's foreign minister will visit India next week for the first high-level meeting between the two countries since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in May.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Foreign Minister Wang Yi would arrive in New Delhi on Sunday for a two-day trip as a special envoy of President Xi Jinping.

Wang would meet Indian officials, including the new foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, said Hong.

He added that the agenda was still being worked out and he could not say if Wang would also meet Modi.

Last month Modi invited Xi to visit, seeking greater engagement on trade and regional security issues. Beijing has yet to formally respond to that invitation.

Hindu nationalist Modi was elected by a landslide, ending a decade of Congress party rule.

Modi is keen to rebalance relations between New Delhi and Beijing that have long been marked by suspicion.

China's closest ally in the region is India's traditional foe, Pakistan, whose prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, attended Modi's inauguration.

China and India fought a brief border war in 1962 that India lost. Tensions have occasionally flared along their mountainous border, which spans about 3,400km and is still partly in dispute.

India runs a US$40 billion annual trade deficit with China, and Modi is expected to seek greater market access to reduce that gap.

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