Bishkek [Kyrgyzstan]: On his first visit for a multilateral forum meeting after reelection, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in which both the sides discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations.
“Deepening friendship with China. PM @narendramodi’s first meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit is with President Xi Jinping. Both leaders are discussing ways to further strengthen bilateral relations,” PMO tweeted on the delegation-level talks between the two sides.
“Your birthday falls on June 15. On behalf of the people of India, I give my best wishes to you. After election results, I received your message and you congratulated me again. I am obliged. Together, we can move forward and work with each other in various areas in the coming days,” Modi said in his opening remarks.
Later, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Building on the momentum of high-level exchanges, PM @narendramodi had a warm meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Leaders discussed all aspects of enriching our bilateral relations & recognised the positive role of strategic communication in deepening our partnership.”
This is the first bilateral meeting between Modi and Xi this year. It also comes after China had lifted its objections against the United Nations’ blacklisting of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar in May.
In April last year, Modi and Xi had met in Wuhan for an informal summit in order to deepen bilateral cooperation. That meeting came following the 73-day standoff in Bhutan’s Doklam plateau in 2017, which strained bilateral ties between the two countries.
Modi will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani later in the day. The Prime Minister will also join an informal dinner hosted by Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov for the SCO leaders, where Prime Minister Imran Khan will also be present.
Khan is being accompanied by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar.
It will be the first time that Modi and Khan will share the same table at the SCO summit amid strained relations between the two neighbours since the February 14 Pulwama terror attack. India has already clarified that there will be no official meeting between the two leaders.
In 2017, India and Pakistan became full members of the SCO.
Founded in 2001, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are the founding members of the organisation.