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Monday 20 January 2020

Pakistan showing no improvement in attitude: Modi to Xi

The most comprehensive coverage of the talks held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping and that between the Indian premier and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bishkek

Bishkek: After resuming power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first talks with China and Russia heads of state on Thursday. Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) separately on Thursday. In the meeting with Xi, Modi said he was not able to see any significant improvement in Pakistan’s attitude in tackling terrorism. In such a situation, there was no scope for talks with Pakistan, Modi told Xi.

The leaders met at the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting of heads of states.

The Bishkek summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Flight of Modi avoids Pakistan airspace

Earlier, Modi left Bishkek to participate in the meeting of the top leaders of the SCO. His flight did not use the Pakistan airspace. Modi’s plane flew from New Delhi, entered Gujarat, and took the route over Iran, crossing Turkmenistan to reach Uzbekistan and then Kyrgyzstan.

On Wednesday, the Pakistan government had allowed the Indian prime minister’s plane to fly over its airspace. But India refused to use it.

India-Pakistan relations stand frozen

Within a few hours of Modi’s arrival, his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan reached Bishkek, too. There is no plan of an official meeting between the two prime ministers. However, dinner is scheduled for the top leaders of all member countries. If Modi and Khan run into each other during the dinner, there is no scope for any talk beyond a possible exchange of pleasantries, sources said.

However, another meeting of Modi with Xi and Putin will be held in the G-20 countries’ meet in Osaka (Japan) at the end of this month.

Modi’s Russia visit in September and Xi’s proposed visit to India in October 2019 began taking shape today.

Xi to visit India

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that Modi wished Xi on his birthday while the Chinese president congratulated the Indian prime minister on the election victory of the latter. Modi invited him for the next round of informal India-China talk, which Xi quickly accepted.

After Wuhan, this will be the second informal meeting of the leaders, expected to further improve India-China bilateral relations. Wuhan is so far being seen as a big leap in confidence-building after the 2017 standoff in Doklam.

It was decided in today’s meeting that in the year 2020, 70 programmes will be organised on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and China. Thirty-five programmes will be organised in each country.

The decisions taken during the Wuhan meeting were reviewed today. Both leaders believed that the situation was improving. They appreciated that efforts to ensure peace along the border have met with considerable success. Business-related issues were discussed, too.

Xi did not miss the opportunity to flag before Modi China’s concern over the United States’ muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region. Sources say Modi lent the Chinese head of state a patient ear but did not commit India’s position on the issue.

Modi to visit Russia

Modi Putin Bishkek
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bishkek on Thursday

Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met separately. Along with negotiations on bilateral issues, Putin invited Modi to take part in the meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum. Modi accepted it readily. He will travel to Russia in September. Beginning with the tour, there will be one India-Russia summit meeting annually.

This was the 27th meeting between Modi and Putin in the last five years. Between the two leaders, there have been 14 bilateral and 13 multilateral meetings.

Putin once again told Modi that India should come forward to invest in the eastern region of Russia. There is a large reservoir of oil and gas in this area, which both countries can harness together. Apart from this, the possibility of building Russian weapons under the Make-in-India programme was discussed, too.

After meeting Putin, Modi tweeted, “The meeting with President Putin was excellent. We had wide-ranging discussions on ways to further boost the India-Russia strategic relationship. We look forward to increased trade and people-to-people linkages with Russia.”

19th meeting of SCO in Bishkek

This is the 19th conference of the SCO, which is being organised in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, from 13 to 14 June. SCO is an eight-member economic and security group led by China, in which India and Pakistan were inducted in 2017.

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