KOLKATA, JUNE 22,
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled her China visit on Friday as “political meetings at the appropriate level” had not been confirmed by the Chinese government, State Finance Minister Amit Mitra said.
The Trinamool Congress chief was slated to leave for China on the night of June 22, leading a delegation under an exchange programme between the Government of India and the International Department of the Communist Party of China. Mr. Mitra said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is presently out of the country, and Foreign Secretary V.K. Gokhale were informed about the cancellation of Ms. Banerjee’s visit to China. In a Facebook post, the Chief Minister said, “In March this year, the Union Minister of External Affairs had recommended to me to kindly consider leading a delegation to China in the coming months under the Exchange Programme of the Government of India with the International Department of the Communist Party of China.”
Ms. Banerjee said she had agreed to the proposal. “I mentioned to her [Ms Swaraj] that since the interest of my country is involved, I wish to visit China sometime during the last week of June 2018.” She added that pursuant to letters from the Chief Secretary and the Ambassador of India to China, a programme was chalked out and the visit planned. Till June 21, everything had been “going well”, she said. “It has now been intimated by our Ambassador to China that political meetings at the appropriate level under the exchange programme could not be confirmed. Therefore, the purpose of my visit with a delegation to China under the exchange programme is of no use,” she said.
Although the Indian Ambassador tried his best to make her visit a success, the failure to confirm the political meetings “at the last moment”, “unfortunately compelled us to cancel the visit”.
“However, I wish the continuation of the friendship of India and China in the days to come and it should strengthen further in the interest of both the countries,” she added.
KOLKATA, JUNE 22,