India, China strike deals on Brahmaputra river, rice as relations thaw

Meeting of the SCO heads of government

The meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi today would take forward the discussions held during the informal summit between the two leaders in Wuhan, China, in April, said Indian Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday arrived in Qingdao where he would be attend the SCO Summit and hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi conveyed to the Indian side that China's defence minister and minister of public security, who is equivalent to India's home minister, will visit New Delhi this year.

India has been strongly pushing for connectivity projects like the Chabahar port project and International North-South Transport Corridor to gain access to resource-rich central Asian countries.

Citing Afghanistan as an "unfortunate example" of effect of terrorism, Modi said he hoped the courageous steps towards peace taken by President Ashraf Ghani will be respected by all in the region, apparently referring to a cease-fire announced by the Afghan leader for the Eid festival.

Addressing the press, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, "The Chinese side has accepted the Prime Minister's invitation to President Xi Jinping to have an informal summit in India in 2019".

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In the wake of Washington's strained ties with Russia, China and Iran, officials said the SCO summit will provide an opportunity for President Xi and his Russian counterpart Putin to reflect on a common vision for the region and present the bloc as a powerful voice to deal with pressing global issues. "Our talks will add further vigor to the India-China friendship". 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".

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

Luo said it was the 14th meeting between the two leaders over past four years. Xi also called for inclusive development and sustainable security, saying they can be achieved by enhancing mutual trust and the foundations for shared peace and security.

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. The first meeting of the new mechanism would be held this year, Gokhale said.

"Wonderful to meet Mr Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan".

The grouping has traditionally focused on counter-terrorism and security issues, and India's hope is to bolster regional cooperation on combating terror. I believe that the Qingdao Summit will further enrich the SCO agenda, while heralding a new beginning for India's engagement with the SCO.

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