Even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrived in Beijing on Thursday on a five-day official visit, an important financial dialogue between India and China was pushed back to July, as interlocutors were busy monitoring the referendum developments in Britain, officials said.
According to Finance Ministry officials in New Delhi, the 8th India-China Financial Dialogue was to be held in Beijing on June 27. But a week ago, the two sides decided to defer it by a month in the wake of the referendum in Britain to stay or pull out of the European Union.
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das was to represent India in the bilateral dialogue.
“If Brexit happens, India is ready,” Das had tweeted earlier on Thursday. “Brexit vote today. We are closely tracking developments in UK. India well prepared,” he added, referring to the crucial vote, the results of which are expected on Friday.
Senior officials in the Finance Ministry in New Delhi and at the Indian mission in Beijing said the dialogue, in any case, is at the level of secretaries, and not ministers.
They added that all the other meetings of Jaitley while in Beijing — including an engagement with his Chinese counterpart Lou Jiwei on June 27 and interactions with investors and bankers — were on schedule.
The Finance Minister will also represent India at the first meeting of the board of governors of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on June 25-26.
The India-China Financial Dialogue was established during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India in April 2005. Thus far, seven rounds have been held — the last one in December 2014 in New Delhi.
Discussions are generally held in areas such as challenges facing the global economy, the macro-economic situation and policies in the two countries, progress on structural reforms, and the status of bilateral multilateral frameworks.
In the last round, India was represented by Dinesh Sharma, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, during which it was agreed that Chinese long-term investments in the Indian infrastructure sector will be encouraged, among other matters.