Astana (Kazakhstan) : On his second day in Kazakhstan capital Asthana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping this morning on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO - a consortium that focuses on security and trade. This will be the first meeting of the two leaders to build on common interests in eight months; much of it spent under the shadow of differences ranging from controversies linked to the boundary question and blocking India's attempt to join the Nuclear Supplier Group that Beijing claims has become "more complicated". Later in the day, India and Pakistan will also be formally inducted into the SCO as members.
Here are the 10 developments on this story:
- PM Modi greeted his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and exchanged pleasantries when they met at a cultural gala. This was the first time that they have spoken in a year but New Delhi has insisted that "talks and terror cannot go together. There is no meeting of any kind planned between the two leaders at Astana but they will be in the same room along with six other heads of government for the SCO Summit.
- At his meeting with President Xi, PM Modi is expected to discuss steps to ease the strain the ties between two nations have come lately over issues such as the One Belt, One Road or OBOR project that India had skipped, China's opposition to India's membership in the exclusive nuclear club NSG, renaming of 6 locations in Arunachal Pradesh and the "artificial controversy" created by Beijing over Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
- The progress made in the discussions on the border question will also be reviewed along with reported transgressions. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had called the first air space violation by two helicopters of the Chinese People's Liberation Army that last week hovered over Chamoli district in Himachal Pradesh as "unacceptable".
- The two leaders are also expected to discuss the fallout of President Donald Trump's announcement to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, something that experts believe leaves scope for India and China to take a leadership role.
- PM Modi is also expected to seek support for designating Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist in the United Nations, a move that China has blocked in the past. The PM is likely to stress that Beijing should not let political considerations, its close relations with Pakistan, stand in the way.
- Ahead of the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in a Facebook post: At this meeting, on completion of the process, India will become a full Member of the SCO upon which SCO will represent over 40 per cent of humanity and nearly 20 per cent of global GDP."
- After SCO membership, both India and Pakistan are expected to follow Tashkent-based Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure and join the other member nations to conduct joint military exercise.
- The resource-rich grouping of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation collaborates on trade, economy, connectivity, energy, transport and banking. Becoming a full member of the SCO will help India establish better trade and economic ties with member countries. It will also strengthen India's strategic position in Central Asia.
- The eight nations will also work together to control terrorism in the Eurasia region. While Pakistan is becoming a member of the SCO, India has been pushing for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations and for terrorism to be formally defined.
- India had been a long-time observer of the group, which was formed in 1996. Initially, the members were Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan was inducted in 2001.