China today said the first meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Brazil next week will have "significant strategic importance" to bilateral ties.
"Xi will have first bilateral meeting with new Indian Prime Minister. So the bilateral meeting will have significant strategic importance," Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said.
Xi will be in Brazil for the BRICS summit on July 15-16 which will be attended by leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Besides BRICS leaders, Xi will meet leaders of Latin American and Caribbean nations in Brazil. He will then head to Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba to boost China's relations with the nations.
Li said extensive preparations were made for the Modi-Xi meeting during the last month's visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to New Delhi.
Modi-Xi meeting also figured in Vice President M Hamid Ansari's talks with Xi during his visit Beijing two weeks ago to take part in the 60th anniversary of Panchsheel.
"We are confident that the bilateral meeting in Brazil will further boost China and India relations. It will have implication for advancing bilateral relations and will further promote cooperation between the two countries," Li said.
Modi has goodwill among the Chinese leadership as he had visited China four times as Gujarat's Chief Minister to scout for investments. The visits also enabled Modi interact with the leadership of ruling Communist Party of China.
Xi's meeting with Modi is expected to pave the way for Chinese President's visit to New Delhi later this year.
Trade and economic issues will likely dominate Modi-Xi meeting as New Delhi wants Beijing to ramp up its investments in India. The two countries recently signed an MoU providing an enabling framework for Chinese Industrial Parks in India.
Chinese investments in India currently stands at USD1.1 billion.
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was part of Ansari's delegation to China, had a separate meeting with her Chinese counterpart Gao Hucheng.
She had said India is expecting a big chunk of FDI from China for the four industrial parks besides taking part in infrastructure projects.
Besides seeking market access for Indian IT and Pharmaceuticals, India wants China to commit substantial investments to compensate the USD35 billion trade imbalance.