Modi-Xi meeting: PM arrives in Qingdao for SCO Summit

Larry Hoffman
June 10, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that connectivity with the neighbourhood and in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) region is India's priority as he stressed that his country was committed to extend full cooperation to a successful outcome of the Summit. Gokhale also said that the bilateral meeting between the two leaders, on the sidelines of the SCO summit, was "positive". "We reviewed the full range of the India-Uzbekistan friendship, especially ways to boost economic and cultural cooperation", he said.

At present, India can only export Basmati rice to China. "Together, let us hoist the sail of the Shanghai Spirit, break waves and embark on a new voyage for our organization", he said. He was in the Chinese city of Wuhan on April 27 and 28 to attend an informal summit with President Xi Jinping.

Though not officially on the agenda, analysts say that one key topic of discussion this year may focus on whether Iran will be allowed to ascend from its position as an SCO observer to become a full member state - a development it has sought since 2008 but has been unable to achieve while subject to United Nations sanctions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed the plenary session at the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in China. They also discussed regional security situation and global issues.

Last year, China had stopped sharing data soon after the 73-day long stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Dokalam over Chinese military's plans to build a road close to India's Chicken Neck corridor connecting North-Eastern states.

"The Shanghai Spirit's focus on seeking common ground while setting aside differences and pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation has won widespread worldwide endorsement and support", the Chinese president said.

"It was a very substantive meeting". The leaders agreed the Wuhan summit had helped develop mutual trust and understanding and take the relationship in a positive direction.

The two leaders also deliberated on initiating a joint project in Afghanistan which will be in the sphere of capacity building.

The event was opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping in the city of Qingdao.

Talking about the outcome of the meeting, Gokhale said both the sides agreed to set up a new people-to-people mechanism to enhance cooperation in several areas such as art and culture. The new mechanism would be headed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi.

Luo said it was the 14th meeting between the two leaders over past four years.

The two leaders also spoke about ensuring greater people-to-people contact, with Xi talking about the popularity of Indian films like Dangal, Bahubaali and Hindi Medium in China.

Beijing agreed to share hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river with New Delhi and agreed to let India export non-basmati rice.

He said next round of Special Representative-level talks on boundary question will be held during second half of this year.

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