India strikes river, rice deals with China as relations thaw

Membership to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will strengthen India’s relations with Central Asia

Membership to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will strengthen India’s relations with Central Asia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the SCO Summit here and the two leaders reviewed the full range of bilateral ties, especially ways to boost economic and cultural links.

Guided by the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO has delivered fruitful outcomes in security, economic and cultural cooperation and made historic strides in institution building, he said.

The two leaders also discussed China importing "high quality pharmaceutical products" from India.

"Despite competitive prices, India was unable to export rice to China due to their phytosanitary norms", said a New Delhi based dealer with a global trading firm, referring to food standards as well as animal and plant hygiene. This comes six weeks after they had decided in Wuhan, at an informal summit, to issue "strategic guidance" to the militaries to avoid another Doklam-type situation.

As India and Pakistan both have rich experience in maintaining security and combating crime, their entry will enhance the development potential and expand the room for cooperation between SCO members in terms of security, Liao said.

Armored vans lined the streets of the coastal city of Qingdao as world leaders arrived Friday for the 18th annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security bloc led by China and Russian Federation.

Tweeting about Saturday's meeting, China's envoy to India, Luo Zhaohui, said Xi and Modi had discussed the "implementation of Wuhan consensus and drawing (up a) blueprint for future China-India relations".

President Xi has accepted Prime Minister Modi's invitation for an informal summit in India in 2019, Gokhale said, adding that the dates and other formalities will be worked out later through diplomatic channels.

The India-China bilateral trade reached $84.44 billion past year, according to data of the Chinese General Administration of Customs in March. The Chinese president said the SCO now stands as a new model for global cooperation.

"It was a very substantive meeting".

"(Modi) also conveyed to President Xi Jinping our readiness to permit the Bank of China to establish a branch office in Mumbai", Gokhale said.

Talking about the outcome of the meeting, Gokhale said both the sides agreed to set up a new people-to-people mechanism to enhance cooperation in several areas such as art and culture.

"On the Indian side, it will be headed by the external affairs minister (Sushma Swaraj) while on Chinese side, it will be headed by state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi". The Special Representatives on the border issue will also meet this year. The two presidents also agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation on all issues of mutual interest.

After talks between the two leaders, the two sides inked an MoU on sharing hydrological information of the Brahmaputra River by China to India and another pact to facilitate export of non-Basmati rice from India to China.

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