Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday held talks in Qingdao on the sidelines of the SCO summit, covering various aspects of the bilateral cooperation, indicating efforts by both the countries to maintain the momentum in ties after their informal summit in Wuhan.
The meeting between the leaders of two Asian powers came nearly six weeks after they held an informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan with an aim to solidify ties in various areas and ensuring better coordination between the border guarding forces of the two countries after the Doklam standoff last year.
PM Modi arrived in Qingdao in the afternoon on a two-day visit to attend the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Before their meeting, the two leaders had a warm handshake and posed for photographs.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Modi said that strong and stable relations between India and China can inspire a stable and peaceful world. He also recalled his informal summit with Xi in Wuhan.
Officials had said in the bilateral meeting in Qingdao, PM Modi and Xi are expected to take stock of the implementation of the decisions taken at their informal summit in Wuhan on April 27-28.
After their talks in Wuhan, the Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President had decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications to build trust and understanding as part of efforts to avoid a Doklam-like situation in the future. The two leaders had also discussed ways to give impetus to their economic ties as well as people-to-people relations.
The ties between the two countries had nosedived following the Doklam standoff. Troops of India and China were locked in the 73-day standoff in Doklam since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army in the disputed area. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face-off had ended on August 28.
However, there have been concerted efforts by both sides to reset ties leaving behind the Doklam episode.
Relations between India and China had also witnessed a downturn owing to differences over a series of issues including China blocking India’s move to get Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN, its opposition to India’s bid for NSG membership and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Prime Minister Modi is expected to hold nearly half a dozen bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries. It is for the first time the Indian Prime Minister will be attending the SCO Summit after India along with Pakistan became full-fledged members of the grouping, which has been increasingly seen as a counter to NATO.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.