Xi confident of new progress in India, China ties in new year

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday called on Chinese President Xi Jinping, who expressed full confidence in Sino-India relations, hoping that "new progress" would be made in the ties in the new year.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 02, 2015, 20:24 PM IST

Beijing: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday called on Chinese President Xi Jinping, who expressed full confidence in Sino-India relations, hoping that "new progress" would be made in the ties in the new year.

"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 here on her maiden visit to the communist nation after she assumed charge last year.

Xi 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.

He 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.

"Please convey my best regards and greetings to President (Pranab) Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi when you go back," Xi said in a rare meeting with a visiting Foreign Minister.

Reciprocating Xi's warm words, Swaraj said Prime Minister Modi has sent his greetings and best wishes for the Chinese Lunar Year of Sheep, which commences on February 19.

"Prime Minister Modi has extended his very best greetings for the Chinese Lunar Year of Sheep, which I have been told is associated with creativity and innovation... Your visit to India was also associated with creativity and innovation based on which the two countries explored new ways forward," she said.