China hosts Russia, Iran for summit as USA tensions rise

Pakistan       by Nozair Hanif Mirza | Published

"SCO focuses on political, economic, security and cultural cooperation and enables India to engage with Central Asian countries", Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted this morning.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said one of the important outcomes of today's meeting was that the Chinese side accepted Prime Minister's invitation to President Xi to come to India for an informal summit next year, similar to the one held by the two leaders in Wuhan on April 27-28. As Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last week, "The Qingdao Summit will lay out new plans to enhance the synergy of development strategies of member states, especially promoting the construction of the Belt and Road to lift regional economic cooperation". They also discussed regional security situation and global issues.

"Our talks will add further vigour to the India-China friendship", Modi said on Twitter, as the two countries try to reset troubled ties months after a border standoff.

Following his arrival, PM Modi had a one-on-one interaction with Mr. Rashid Alimov, the Secretary-General of SCO.

Gokhale said the meeting had a "very positive forward looking momentum" which was underpinned by spirit of the Wuhan summit.

The summit in this Chinese port city is taking place under the shadow of Washington's pull out from the Iran nuclear deal, its sanction regime against Russian Federation and frictions with China over the trade tariff dispute and diplomats said all these issues may figure at the summit as well as during deliberations on its sidelines.

Modi arrived in the picturesque coastal city of China's Shandong province on a two-day visit to attend the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Russia´s President Vladimir Putin (C) reviews a military honour guard with Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 8, 2018.

The SCO, launched in 2001 mainly to combat radical Islam and other security concerns across Central Asia, added traditional rivals India and Pakistan as members a year ago.

Gokhale said Xi referred to the growing popularity of Indian films and not only spoke about the success of the movie Dangal in China, but also mentioned that Baahubali 2 and other Hindi movies had done well in the country. "One of the outcomes of today's meeting is that we have agreed we will move forward in identifying a specific project initially in the area of capacity building", Gokhale said. Xi said China will encourage Indian companies to register in China for exports.

The two leaders agreed to maintain strategic communications and meet on the sidelines of global meetings.

These moves are seen as attempts by India and China to bring ties back on an even keel after the 73-day-long tense military standoff between India and China previous year over their unsettled boundary dispute.

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