Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on Saturday in Qingdao, a port city in China’s eastern Shandong province.
The delegation-level talks were held in Qingdao’s Anren Hall. A series of agreements were signed between the two countries in the presence of the two leaders.
Before the meeting, Xi welcomed Modi to the summit. The two leaders were seen engaging in pleasantries as they posed for photographs. This was the first meeting between Modi and Xi since the ‘informal summit’ held in Wuhan in April, which brought an end to the frosty ties between India and China since the Doklam crisis.
Following his arrival in Qingdao, the PM met Rashid Alimov, the Secretary-General of SCO, and discussed with him ways to through which India’s participation can strengthen the bloc.
The PM is also expected to hold nearly half a dozen bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries. He will participate in the Summit, which is scheduled for tomorrow.
This is the first time that India is participating in the Summit after becoming a full member.
The SCO has eight full member nations, including India and Pakistan both of which were granted the status on 9 June 2017. Besides the two and China, the other members include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia enjoy observer status in the bloc. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey are Dialogue Partners in the SCO.
The Indian PM arrived to a rousing reception at the Hotel Le Meridien, where he was greeted by the Indian diaspora in Qingdao.
A day before his departure, the PM had said that he will be “interacting with leaders of SCO nations and discussing a wide range of subjects with them” during his two-day visit which ends on 10 June.
“I am excited to lead the Indian delegation for our first-ever meeting of the Council as a full member,” the PM said in a statement.
He praised the SCO for the bloc’s “rich agenda for cooperation, ranging from fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism to promoting cooperation in connectivity, commerce, customs, law, health and agriculture; protecting the environment and mitigating disaster risk; and fostering people-to-people relations”.
“In the last one year since India became a full member of the SCO, our interaction with the Organization and its member States has grown considerably in these areas. I believe that the Qingdao Summit will further enrich the SCO agenda, while heralding a new beginning for India’s engagement with the SCO,” the statement read.
The PM said that India enjoys deep friendship and multi-dimensional ties with the Member States of the SCO.