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Entry of India, Pakistan strengthens security cooperation of SCO: Chinese official
10 June 2018, 05:14 | Devin Moran
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India is the world's largest rice exporter but sends only a minuscule proportion to China, which imports almost five million tonnes annually for domestic consumption. Stating that the spirit of Wuhan "underpinned" the Qingdao meeting, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale called Xi's acceptance of Modi's invite for another informal summit in 2019 in India as a significant takeaway from the meeting on Saturday. "The dates will be worked out". "And both leaders made very positive assessment of the Wuhan summit", he said, adding both the leaders agreed to keep open the strategic communication.
Modi is also said that have acknowledged the Wuhan summit as a "milestone in relationship", one which would help develop mutual understanding and trust and take the relationship forward. Besides Modi, other leaders attending the summit in this picturesque coastal city of China's Shandong province include President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain. They also discussed regional security situation and global issues.
India signaled in advance of the meeting that it will not compromise its sovereignty by reconsidering its opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an infrastructure project that would pass through land in Kashmir occupied by Pakistan but claimed by India.
In this context, Xi also referred to growing popularity of Indian films in China and particularly mentioned about films Dangal and Bahubali. "One of the outcomes of today's meeting is that we have agreed we will move forward in identifying a specific project initially in the area of capacity building", Gokhale said. "The first meeting of this mechanism will be held this year", he said.
Sharing some aspects of the almost 50-minute meeting, the foreign secretary said Xi described the Wuhan summit as a "new starting point" in bilateral relations between the two countries while prime minister called it as a "milestone" in ties which will help in developing mutual understanding and trust.
Matters pertaining to bilateral relations between Pakistan and China came under discussion during the meeting. Modi and Xi are again expected to meet next month during the BRICS Summit in South Africa.
Following his arrival, PM Modi had a one-on-one interaction with Mr. Rashid Alimov, the Secretary-General of SCO.
The grouping has traditionally focused on counter-terrorism and security issues, and India's hope is to bolster regional cooperation on combating terror.
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.
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