Mamnoon Hussain, Xi discuss regional security, global issues in SCO summit

Erika Holt
June 10, 2018

President Mamnoon congratulated President Xi Jinping on his re-election as President of People's Republic of China and General Secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC).

The Chinese President welcomed Pakistan's representation in the Organization as a member.

"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.

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.

Modi and Xi are expected to explore ways to deepen ties in areas of trade and investment besides reviewing the overall bilateral cooperation.

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.

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".

The two countries will also hold a dialogue of their defence and Home ministers and have set a target of $100 billion in trade by the year 2020. Indian pharmaceuticals are another potential item of export to China, he said.

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"(Modi) also conveyed to President Xi Jinping our readiness to permit the Bank of China to establish a branch office in Mumbai", Gokhale said.

The Indian foreign secretary agreed, saying the talks were "underpinned by the spirit of the Wuhan summit".

Apart from this, the two sides formally agreed to undertake a joint project in Afghanistan, pertaining to "capacity building".

India is expected to be the only country in the Qingdao declaration to not endorse the BRI, as was the case at the recent SCO foreign ministers meet where the final statement awkwardly named the ministers of all countries, barring India, in the part of the statement that named the BRI. "Our talks will add further vigour to the India-China friendship", Mr. Modi tweeted after the meeting.

Beijing agreed to share hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river with New Delhi and agreed to let India export non-basmati rice.

About Saturday's meeting, he said, "It was a substantive meeting and both leaders began by making a very positive assessment of the Wuhan summit".

In this context, Xi also referred to growing popularity of Indian films in China and particularly mentioned about films Dangal and Bahubali. "The first meeting of this mechanism will be held this year", he said.

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