Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday met her Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers' meeting here."Smt @nsitharaman has a bilateral meeting with the Hon'ble Minister of Defence, China, General Wei Fenghe in Beijing," the Indian Defence Ministry spokesperson tweeted.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.Prior to her meeting with Wei, Sitharaman addressed the SCO Defence Ministers' meeting. India is participating in this meeting for the first time.
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, last June.Sitharaman arrived here on Monday and is here at the same time as Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who also attended the SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting on Tuesday.The visit of Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj comes ahead of an informal meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in China on April 27-28.