Mamnoon Hussain, Xi discuss regional security, global issues in SCO summit

Pakistan       by Nozair Hanif Mirza | Published

The SCO now has eight member countries which represents around 42 per cent of the world's population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.

It is Modi's second visit to China in little over five weeks.

The two leaders also deliberated on initiating a joint project in Afghanistan which will be in the sphere of capacity building. This had been hinted at after the Wuhan meeting.

At the end of the two-day summit, the leaders are expected to sign a Qingdao Declaration.

One goal China might pursue at this year's SCO is establishing deeper ties with Iran, which will attend the summit as an observer. The pact will lead to regular data sharing between May 15 and October 15.

Beijing agreed to share hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river with New Delhi and agreed to let India export non-basmati rice. The decision on rice exports could be a starting point for sale of Indian farm produce and processed products like sugar to China in order to reduce the trade imbalance.

India is the world's largest rice exporter but sends only a minuscule proportion to China, which imports almost five million tonnes annually for domestic consumption.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, June 9, 2018. "The dates will be worked out".

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The SCO is a very influential structure for ensuring security, the Iranian leader said.

On the occasion, President Mamnoon said that Pakistan supported the Chinese chairmanship of SCO and appreciated the various initiatives proposed by China in the organization during the a year ago. We had detailed discussions on bilateral and global issues.

India and China on Saturday agreed on measures to build on the consensus achieved by their leaders during recent talks in Wuhan, including the next informal summit to be held in India in 2019 and steps to maintain peace along the disputed border. "The first meeting of this mechanism will be held this year", he said.

China is willing to work with India to take the Wuhan meeting as a new starting point to continuously enhance political mutual trust and engage in mutually beneficial cooperation across the board, so as to push forward China-India relations in a better, faster and steadier manner, Xi was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The entry of India and Pakistan could pave the way for greater three-way cooperation between India, China and Pakistan, former Chinese Ambassador to India and Pakistan Zhou Gang, told India Today.

The grouping has traditionally focused on counter-terrorism and security issues, and India's hope is to bolster regional cooperation on combating terror.

This 18th edition of SCO will be India's first participation in the summit as a full-time member of the organisation. India, along with Pakistan, became the full-time member during Astana summit in June 2017.

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