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PM Modi’s 2nd innings to begin with Xi Jinping meet

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines of SCO summit; talks likely on key bilateral and global issues.

, ET Bureau|
May 24, 2019, 08.22 AM IST
Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping
NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi begins his second term in office as PM with a key meeting as he is expected to engage with Chinese president Xi Jinping in Bishkek on sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit between June 14 and 15.

This meeting in the early part of Modi’s second innings could chart Sino-Indian ties which have been stable since Wuhan Summit of 2018. The two leaders are expected to chart out a way forward on a number of contentious issues, bilateral and global, riding on goodwill created by China’s green signal to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Xi is expected to visit India later this year for the second edition of the informal summit.

While this meeting would be held in the backdrop of Sino-US trade war and suggestions for closer Sino-Indian economic cooperation, an unresolved boundary dispute, huge trade gap, China-Pak-Eco-Corridor and Beijing’s opposition to India’s NSG remain challenges. India boycotted the second edition of BRI Summit and Delhi remains steadfast in its opposition to Xi’s big initiative.

Modi is also expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of SCO Summit. A few weeks back, Putin awarded Russia’s highest state honour the ‘Order of St Andrew the Apostle’ to Modi.

Within a fortnight of SCO meet, Xi and Modi will have another opportunity to meet in Osaka, Japan, at the G-20 Summit.

An informal BRICS Summit and the third edition of the Russia-India-China Summit are also expected to be held on the sidelines of G-20 Summit.

The SCO Summit will also be Modi’s first engagement abroad since his re-election as PM. Interestingly, Modi could also meet his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan in Bishkek.

While the shadow of Pulwama terror attacks looms large and Islamabad fears being blacklisted by Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the two leaders could engage in a brief interaction or shake hands and exchange pleasantries.

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