India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw

by Abel Hampton June 10, 2018, 2:11
India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw

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. They also agreed - as decided during their first informal summit at Wuhan in April - to maintain strategic communications through various channels, including telephone calls and frequent meetings on the sidelines of multilateral events.

Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi.

Participants at the summit will discuss about issues including information security, combating cross-border crime and the formation of permanent bodies to ensure law enforcement and security, he said.

"SCO has been working and will continue to work in counter-terrorism", Indian envoy to China Gautam Bambawale said, adding that Sunday's Qingdao declaration will take a stand on the issue. "Our talks will add further vigour to the India-China friendship", Modi tweeted after the meeting.

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.

He also felicitated his Chinese counterpart on the successful conduct of SCO Summit in China.

India became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2017.

The summit in this Chinese port city is taking place under the shadow of Washington's pull out from the Iran nuclear deal, its sanction regime against Russian Federation and frictions with China over the trade tariff dispute and diplomats said all these issues may figure at the summit as well as during deliberations on its sidelines.

To that end, one of the agreements signed on Saturday amended the 2006 protocol on phytosanitary requirements for exporting rice from India to include the export of non-basmati varieties of rice. India, which recently joined the SCO, might have a few words to say about China's behavior in contested territory.

President Xi said their Wuhan meeting had been well received by both countries and the global community, and a positive atmosphere is taking shape to pay close attention to and support the development of China-India relations.

"The first meeting of this mechanism will be held this year", he said.

This was the 14th meeting between the two leaders over the past four years.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is also scheduled to attend the summit which will give leaders of India, Russia, China and other central Asian countries a chance to deliberate on the Iran nuclear deal.

Xi called the Wuhan summit "a new starting point of bilateral relations" and Modi concurred, saying it was a "milestone".

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