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India’s Modi and China’s Xi Meet
on the Sidelines of the SCO Summit

June 2017

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the five BRICS heads of State at the BRICS Summit in Goa, India, on Oct. 16, 2016. Modi is shown here, at that summit, with Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (right).

June 9, 2017 (EIRNS)—The 17th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Astana, Kazakhstan June 8-9, and culminated with the admission of India and Pakistan as new members of the group—the first expansion of the SCO since its inception in 2001. China will assume the rotating presidency of the SCO for the coming year.

In addition to issuing a final communique and ten other documents, the two-day gathering saw a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines which were of strategic importance. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping of course met, as expected, but there was also a meeting between the Chinese President and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which had remained unconfirmed until the last minute. There are numerous points of tension between the two countries, which led the Modi government to foolishly boycott the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. As Helga Zepp-LaRouche explained at the time, the BRF and its global infrastructure development activity is precisely the context—and the only context—in which such pending geopolitical issues among nations can be successfully addressed. It is noteworthy that, in his speech to the SCO summit, Xi Jinping announced

"China’s proposal for the SCO to draw up a 5-year outline for implementation of the Treaty on Long-Term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation."

The Times of India reported that at their bilateral meeting, Modi thanked Xi for China’s support of India’s membership in the SCO:

"I got the opportunity to meet you again during the SCO summit. I am grateful to you for your efforts and support for India’s SCO membership."

Modi later tweeted: "We spoke about India-China relations and how to further improve ties." Xi for his part emphasized that the two countries should work to "appropriately" manage their differences:

"There was also an understanding that where we have differences, it was important that differences should not become disputes, and in fact, if they were handled well, cold even become opportunities."

This was the first Modi-Xi meeting this year. The Times of India reported that they are expected to meet again in early July at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, and at the September 2017 BRICS summit in Xiamen, China.

Modi also met Uzbek President Mirziyoyev, and "exchanged pleasantries" with Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif, as they both awaited in the Leaders Lounge for the beginning of the cultural gala that inaugurated the SCO meeting. India and Pakistan have long- standing territorial and other disputes, and this was the first encounter between Modi and Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif since December 2015.

One of the central issues addressed at the SCO summit was that of the joint battle against terrorism. Xi’s speech called for

"the SCO to strengthen regional counter-terrorism institutional building and resolutely crack down on illicit drug manufacturing and trafficking."

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the fact that "the role of the regional anti-terrorist structure of the SCO is growing," and that:

"I have repeatedly stressed that this scourge [terrorism] can only be dealt with by way of honest and constructive joint efforts of all countries on the basis of strict observance of international law."

And India’s Modi in his remarks stated that

"terrorism is a major threat to humanity. I have full confidence that the India-SCO cooperation will give a new direction and strength to the fight against terrorism."