SCO Summit: Narendra Modi meets Xi Jinping in Astana; leaders discuss countering terrorism, boosting trade

Astana (Kazakhstan): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit. "PM Narendra Modi meets President of China Xi Jinping on margins of SCO Summit in Astana," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted with pictures of both the leaders.

After participating in the summit on Friday, Modi will also attend the World Exposition hosted by Kazakhstan, before returning to India. As per an ANI tweet, Modi was grateful for the support during the summit:

According to PTI, Modi will be deliberating ways to contain terrorism and boost trade at the SCO Summit in the backdrop of a series of major terror strikes in several countries. Modi is likely to pitch for a concerted global action plan to contain terrorism at the summit which is also being attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani are among the prominent leaders who will participate in the Summit where India and Pakistan will be inducted as full members of the grouping, in its first ever expansion.

Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping. Reuters

This summit is particularly important for India and Pakistan because they will be formally admitted into the group. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying hopes that the admission of New Delhi and Islamabad as full members would help improve their bilateral relations.

The SCO was founded with the aim to strengthen relations among member states and promote cooperation in political affairs, economics and trade. China hopes that India and Pakistan will also mend their ties and uphold the spirit of the SCO after becoming members.

However, Chinese experts have said that Beijing won't back any attempts to internationalise the two countries' bilateral disputes. "SCO members will support them and offer help if the two countries need it, rather than internationalise their dispute within the organisation," said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

This was the the first time the leaders met since New Delhi abstained from Beijing's One Belt One Road (OBOR) forum. The SCO members were also expected to back China's OBOR initiative "All SCO members are participating in the Belt and Road initiative, and this organisation is the initiative's security guarantee," India Today quoted Wang Yiwei, a scholar at Renmin University, as saying.

China also supports Iran's membership to the SCO security bloc and the subject is expected to be discussed at the summit on Thursday. The SCO refused to initiate Iran's accession last year despite a request from Russia which backs Tehran's bid. "China highly appraises this. China welcomes and supports Iran's wish to become a formal member of the SCO,” said Assistant Chinese foreign minister Li Huilai.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 09, 2017 10:51 AM

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