The Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Bishek, Kyrgyzstan. However, ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the date and time of the meeting with Xi has not been fixed.
“We are happy to confirm that bilateral meetings with Russia and China will be taking place on the margins of the summit,” Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (West) Gitesh Sharma said. The summit will be held on June 13 and 14.
The secretary parried a question about whether Pakistan has permitted Modi to fly over its airspace to Bishkek. Pakistani airspace has been closed to Indian flights following the Indian Air Force’s strikes in Balakot area of Pakistan on February 26. However, Sharma said that the problem of terrorism is likely to be discussed at the summit, but refused to name “specific countries”.
On June 6, the ministry had said that there was no meeting planned between Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar reiterated this on Monday. “There is no meeting which is being organised between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, at the SCO summit,” he said. “There is nothing more that we can add at this stage.”
Sharma said that a bilateral meeting between India and Kyrgyzstan will take place on the afternoon of June 14. “It may be recalled that the Kyrgyz President [Sooronbay Jeenbekov] had visited India for the prime minister’s swearing in on May 30...in his capacity as Kyrgyz chairperson,” he said. Sharma said India and Kyrgyzstan have developed active bilateral relations over the past few years.
The secretary admitted that there has been a request for a bilateral meeting with Iran. However, he added that given the paucity of time, such requests will be processed later.
There is also likely to be a business summit between the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and its Kyrgyz counterpart on June 14, Sharma said.
Meanwhile, China said the summit would discuss economy-related matters and security cooperation with a focus on counter terrorism, PTI reported. “The establishment of the SCO is not to target any country but summit of this level would certainly pay attention to major international and regional issues,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said.