India, China ink 2 MoUs, Xi accepts Modi’s invite for informal summit

Pakistan       by Nozair Hanif Mirza | Published

Briefing the media after the two leaders held talks for almost an hour on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the meeting was "positive and forward looking and underpinned the spirit of the Wuhan summit". The two leaders took stock of the progress in implementing the decisions they had taken at their informal summit in Wuhan in April.

As India and Pakistan both have rich experience in maintaining security and combating crime, their entry will enhance the development potential and expand the room for cooperation between SCO members in terms of security, Liao said.

It is for the first time that the Indian prime minister will be attending the SCO Summit after India along with Pakistan became full-fledged members of the grouping, which has been increasingly seen as a counter to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

To boost economic and commercial linkages, the two countries are looking at sugar and non-basmati rice exports by India to China, Gokhale said.

Asia Times anticipates this year's SCO meeting could be much more successful than the 17 previous outings because relations between Russian Federation and China have improved so dramatically.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting in Qingdao, China on 9 June, 2018.

The SCO now has eight member countries.

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"One of the important outcomes of today's meeting was that the Chinese side conveyed that they accepted (Modi's) invitation to President Xi Jinping to have a similar informal summit in India in 2019", he said. The Special Representatives on the border issue will also meet this year. The sanctions have impacted Russia's defence cooperation with a number of countries including India.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been seeking a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, hoping to capitalize on Iranian estrangement from the G7 nations after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

Regional security issues will also feature, because terrorism is the most severe security challenge facing the SCO, according to Liao Jinrong, head of the Chinese ministry of public security's global cooperation department.

India was an observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.

PM Modi is expected to hold about six bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries.

Further, the member-countries, including India, Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, are expected to sign the Qingdao Declaration.

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