Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek and discussed ways to further strengthen the bilateral relations.
This is the first time when top leaders of the neighbouring countries are meeting after Modi's re-election following the thumping victory of the BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
"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," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.
Ahead of the meeting, China hinted that President Xi would highlight the need to forge a united front against US President Donald Trump's policies of trade protectionism and unilateralism using tariffs as a weapon.
Chinese officials hope that India, which is also facing trade frictions with the US specially over the termination of its designation as a 'beneficiary developing country' under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), would join the fight against Trump's protectionist policies.
PM Modi arrived in the Kyrgyz capital on Thursday for the SCO summit, the first multilateral engagement post his re-election. The SCO is a China-led 8-member economic and security bloc with India and Pakistan being admitted to the grouping in 2017.
In a surprise move, Modi government on Wednesday said that the VVIP plane of the Prime Minister won’t fly over Pakistan. Instead, Modi used Iran-Oman route to reach Bishkek.
Earlier, India had said that no bilateral meeting has been planned between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek next week.
There was speculation about possibility of a meeting between Modi and Khan in the wake of a private visit by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood days after telephonic conversation between the prime ministers.
"To best of my knowledge, there is no bilateral meeting being planned between the prime minister and PM of Pakistan on the sidelines of the SCO summit," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said during a media briefing.
Asked specifically whether he was completely ruling out any possibility of Modi-Khan meeting in Bishkek, Kumar only said he was not aware of any bilateral meeting being organised between the two leaders.
Earlier, PM Modi, in a statement before his two-day visit to Bishkek from June 13-14, said that on the sidelines of the SCO Summit, he also plans to meet several leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"We attach special importance to SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interaction in the region. India has actively participated in various SCO dialogue mechanisms since its full membership of SCO two years ago," he said on Wednesday.
With Agency Inputs