Beijing, April 24 (IANS) 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.
Bhubaneswar, April 24 (IANS) Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday requested Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to set up an airport in Odisha's industrial town Paradip.
In a letter, Pradhan sought the personal attention of Prabhu to examine the techno-economic feasibility for setting an airport at Paradip as soon as possible.
"The grand vision of development of Paradip would remain incomplete without an airport providing air connectivity, as the nearest Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar is 135 kms away and takes more than three hours by road," he said , adding that the Paradip Port Trust has already requested the Airport Authority of India to set up an airport there.
Paradip is one of the major ports in eastern India and last year became one of the three ports in India to have handled a total cargo of over 100 million tons.
The port is being further expanded and modernized and it is expected that by 2020 it would be able to handle 332 million tons of cargo per annum thereby making it the largest port in India, said Pradhan.
He said the Union government has declared Paradip Port as a Smart Port Industrial City, which is fast emerging as a major industrial hub in Odisha and Eastern India.
Besides having the port, Paradip already has an oil refinery of 15 MMTPA capacity, a 12 MMTPA pellet plant, two fertilizer plants together of 4 MMTPA capacity and a edible oil refinery, he said.
In addition, Pradhan said that his Ministry is implementing several big ticket industrial projects, including expansion of refinery to 21 MMTPA from 15 MMTPA, a 700 TMT Poly Propylene plant by 2018 and a 355 TMT Mono Ethyl Glycol unit by 2023-24 which will feed various downstream industries including plastics, paints, rubber and synthetic yarn industries, and all these initiatives "require seamless connectivity".