Xi, Modi Hold Bilateral Talks in China, Agree to Improve Ties


Modi arrived in the picturesque coastal city of China's Shandong province on a two-day visit to attend the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Its member states also include four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics, Pakistan and India. This is the PM's second visit to China in the last 6 weeks.

Another significant development was that Modi and Xi agreed to identify a project in "capacity building" in Afghanistan on which the two countries can work together. This had been hinted at after the Wuhan meeting.

Korea Joongang Daily quotes Chinese media that in addition to issuing a joint declaration, participants will sign "more than 10 agreements on security, economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges".

Originating from Tibet, the Brahmaputra is one of the major rivers in China. The pact will lead to regular data sharing between May 15 and October 15.

At present, India can only export Basmati rice to China. "The dates will be worked out".

The Indian foreign secretary agreed, saying the talks were "underpinned by the spirit of the Wuhan summit". He said that Pakistan supported the Chinese chairmanship of SCO and appreciated the various initiatives proposed by China in the organisation during the last one year. "Our talks will add further vigour to the India-China friendship", Modi tweeted after the meeting.

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The two leaders also spoke about ensuring greater people-to-people contact, with Xi talking about the popularity of Indian films like Dangal, Bahubaali and Hindi Medium in China.

Talking about the outcome of the meeting, Gokhale said both the sides agreed to set up a new people-to-people mechanism to enhance cooperation in several areas such as art and culture. "Their first meeting will be held this year", Gokhale said.

Mr. Xi accepted Mr. Modi's invitation for another "informal summit" in India next year and described Wuhan as a "new starting point" in India-China relations.

Both the leaders shook hands in front of the national flags of the two countries before they held the meeting to discuss a wide array of matters of mutual cooperation. Modi and Xi are again expected to meet next month during the BRICS Summit in South Africa. Within hours of his arrival the prime minister had talks with the organisation's Secretary General Rashid Alimov.

The agreement to this effect was made in a bilateral meeting between President Mamnoon Hussain and his counterpart from Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.

The SCO Summit is scheduled to take place on Sunday, and counter-terrorism and security in the region are expected to dominate the discussions. Xi congratulated Pakistan on its participation in the summit as a full member for the first time.

Though not officially on the agenda, analysts say that one key topic of discussion this year may focus on whether Iran will be allowed to ascend from its position as an SCO observer to become a full member state - a development it has sought since 2008 but has been unable to achieve while subject to United Nations sanctions.