Millennium Post

Modi, Xi expected to meet on sidelines of SCO summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet this week on the sidelines of SCO summit in Astana, amid growing differences between the two countries over a host of issues including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and NSG.

Efforts were on through diplomatic channels to arrange a meeting between the two leaders, informed sources said.

The summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) being held on June 8-9 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, is special for India as it would be formally admitted into the China dominated six-nation grouping along with Pakistan.

Till now China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the group's full members.

Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

The admission of India and Pakistan will enlarge the group's footprints for the first time to South Asia from Central Asia.

Chinese officials say that Beijing attaches importance to the Modi-Xi meeting as this would be the first this year and taking place after India boycotted the high-profile Belt and Road Forum held here last month in which 29 world leaders took part.

India abstained from the summit to highlight its concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and passes through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

China is vocal about its stand to block India's admission into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) besides moves to list JeM leader Masood Azhar as terrorist by the UN.

After Astana, Modi and Xi are also expected to cross paths at the G20 summit to be held next month in Hamburg, Germany followed by Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) summit to be held in Xiamen, China in September.
Their Astana meeting would be followed by lengthy process of high level consultative meetings between BRICS countries starting with the foreign ministers this month.

China on Tuesday said it is in touch with Russia over India's entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), but made it clear that its position on the issue remains "unchanged."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying's comments came a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India is engaging with Moscow and making efforts to convince Beijing on the issue.
"China and other member including Russia maintained close communication and we also maintain that we should act in accordance with the principles of the NSG," Hua told media.

The application for accession by non-NPT countries is a multi-lateral question and should be addressed on the basis of consensus of the NSG members, Hua said when asked for reaction to Swaraj's comments.
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