The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi can meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana in Kazakhstan. “There is a possibility of a bilateral meeting between PM Modi and Chinese President, at SCO Astana, but nothing is confirmed as of now”, ANI quoted MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay as saying. The two leaders are scheduled to meet amid growing differences between India and China over a host of issues including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and NSG. On India’s SCO membership, MEA said, “Trade, connectivity, energy, banking and fight against terrorism are the main areas of cooperation.”
Speaking on the possibility of meeting between Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the summit, Baglay said, “Like External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj said, there is no meet scheduled as of now between PM Modi and PM Sharif.”
The SCO Summit, being held on June 8-9 in Astana, is special for India as it would be formally admitted into the China dominated six-nation grouping along with Pakistan. China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are its full members till now. And, Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status. The admission of India and Pakistan will enlarge SCO’s footprints for the first time to South Asia from Central Asia.
After Astana, Modi and Xi are also expected to meet at the G20 summit to be held next month in Germany’s Hamburg, followed by BRICS summit to be held in China’s Xiamen in September.