China hosts Pakistan, India for Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks to reporters in Tehran

Top leaders of India, Russia, and China and some of their close allies will converge here tomorrow for the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit which will explore concrete ways to bolster cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism and radicalisation besides deliberating on pressing global issues.

Zhou also said he believed India and China had shared concerns on combating terrorism, as well as on promoting free trade and multilateralism, especially as China's relations with Donald Trump's administration faces growing tensions.

Describing the almost hour-long meeting as "substantial" and "forward looking", foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said both leaders made a very positive assessment of developments since they last met in the central city of Wuhan during April 28-29.

India became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2017. This will be India's first SCO Summit as a full member.

To boost economic and commercial linkages, the two countries are looking at sugar and non-basmati rice exports by India to China, Gokhale said.

China is also pushing Xi's pet Belt and Road Initiative at the SCO Summit. They also discussed the regional security situation and global issues.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Shavkat Mirziyoyev President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the sidelines of SCO Summit".

The security bloc will also likely mull over whether to allow Iran 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.

Modi and Xi are likely to take stock of progress in the implementation of the decisions they had taken at the Wuhan informal summit, official sources said.

The two leaders also agreed on increasing bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2020, and Xi said China is ready to enhance agricultural imports from India.

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. India favours projects such as the International North-South Transport Corridor for greater access to the central Asia region. The numbers have climbed further after the accession of India and Pakistan.

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

Armored vans lined the streets of the coastal city of Qingdao as world leaders arrived Friday for the 18th annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security bloc led by China and Russian Federation.

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