India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw

India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw

India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw

The summit in this eastern Chinese port city is taking place under the shadow of Washington's pull out from the Iran nuclear deal, its sanctions regime against Russian Federation, and frictions with China over the trade tariffs.

The meeting is taking place weeks after the two leaders held an informal summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan during which they exchanged views on solidifying the relationship between the two Asian powers.

Ties between the two neighbours had nosedived following last year's military standoff at Doklam and also due to several other issues, including China blocking a move to sanction Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar at the UN Security council and Beijing's opposition to New Delhi's bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It will be the first SCO summit since its expansion, when India and Pakistan were included as full members at the Astana summit in Kazakhstan a year ago.

"We reviewed the full range of the India-Uzbekistan friendship, especially ways to boost economic and cultural cooperation", he said.

PM Modi will meet Mr Xi multiple times on the sidelines of the summit.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the meeting. The leaders are also supposed to focus on the issues of global trade and counterterrorism. Chinese strategic expert Long Xingchun, senior research fellow at the Charhar Institute, told India Today that Pakistan could make some compromises on terror, but that members should not make the issue country-specific, referring to India.

The summit will focus on enhancing cooperation to address the challenges of terrorism, drug trafficking, cross-border crimes, information security threats, Liao Jinrong, head of the worldwide cooperation department with the Ministry of Public Security, said at a media briefing ahead of the summit, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that China will buy 6.4 million tonnes of rice in 2018, while India will export a total of 11.9 million tonnes.

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

"(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 SCO, launched in 2001 mainly to combat radical Islam and other security concerns across Central Asia, added traditional rivals India and Pakistan as members past year.

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