New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to China on a four-day visit on Saturday during which she will hold talks on "issues of concern" with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and attend Russia-India-China (RIC) meeting.
Swaraj will be accompanied by new Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar among other senior ministry officials. It will be Jaishankar's first foreign trip after being appointed two days back, replacing Sujatha Singh whose tenure was abruptly "curtailed".
Jaishankar has served as India's Ambassador to China for nearly four years before being appointed as Ambassador to US in 2013.
During her trip, which comes within a week of US President Barack Obama's three-day visit here, Swaraj will "discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of concern to both sides" with her Chinese counterpart, MEA has said.
The two sides will also explore the possibility of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this year. Both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Wang had visited India last year immediately after the installation of the Modi government.
Noting that both sides attach "great importance" to Swaraj's visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said in Beijing that bilateral ties between the two largest developing countries and major emerging economies were progressing in a "sound and stable way".
"Our cooperation has made some headway. We are enhancing mutual political trust and practical cooperation in various fields. We are in sound coordination and cooperation in regional and international issues," she said.
The External Affairs Minister will also attend the RIC meeting with her Chinese and Russian counterparts. The meeting was earlier scheduled to take place in August but Swaraj cancelled her travel which was to take place just ahead of Modi's visit to Japan.
The visit by Swaraj comes in the backdrop of China describing Obama's visit here as "superficial rapprochement" while talking about differences between India and the US on various issues.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency in a commentary, said, "The shortened three-day visit is more symbolic than pragmatic, given the long-standing division between the two giants, which may be as huge as the distance between them."
During his visit, Obama favoured a "greater role" for India in the Asia Pacific region which is seen as US' attempt to contain China's influence in the area including in the South China Sea.
Swaraj will also inaugurate the 2nd India-China High- Level Media Forum and attend the launch of Visit India Year during her stay in Beijing.
She will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the RIC trilateral meeting.