PM Narendra Modi arrived in China yesterday for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit 2018. The two-day conference had a lot for India to take away.
• This was the first SCO Summit with India and Pakistan as full-fledged members. They became members last year at the Astana Conference, 2017.
• India had certain key issues to address through the Summit:
1. Extremism and terrorism, with a special emphasis on pressuring Pakistan.
2. Regional cooperation on trade.
3. Rising global crude oil prices.
• Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi met on the sidelines of the Summit. The prominent decisions made are:
1. China has renewed the agreement with India, for sharing hydrological data of Brahmaputra river during the flood season, May to October.
2. Another protocol signed between the two countries will enable India to export all varieties of rice to China (earlier only Basmati variety was allowed). This will help decrease India’s adverse balance of payments with China.
3. Discussions were also held for drawing a blueprint to further accelerate bilateral activities in the economic, cultural and military domains.
4. However, India remained firm in it’s resolve to not back China’s ‘Belt and Road Project’, the key artery of which passes through the disputed part of Kashmir.
• China and India shared another significant interest in the strengthening of bonds at the SCO Summit. The two are the top oil importing countries in the world. And the eight member SCO has major oil-producing countries like Russia and Kazakhstan as members and Iran as an observer. Stronger ties will allow India and China to influence these oil producers, especially since both the nations are heavily burdened by the rising crude oil prices.
• PM Modi also had bilateral talks with leaders of other members like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, etc. India invited Kazakhstan to join the International Solar Alliance, to which the country responded positively.
• China made an announcement that it will offer $4.7 Billion in Loans in accordance to the SCO Framework.
• Mr. Modi also expressed his will to enhance intra-Asian tourism. Hence, he declared that he will organise East Asian food and culture fests in India.
PM Modi also shared a moment with the neighbour, Pakistan, as he shook hands with the Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain after the signing of the SCO agreements.
Mr. Modi left for India at around 5 p.m. today.
The SCO Summit was a binary contrast to the G7 Chaos seen today, where things did not go down too well Between Mr. Donald Trump and Canadian PM, Mr. Justin Trudeau.
President Xi Jinping said at the Summit that China is against “selfish” trade policies, almost as if hinting at the tariff disputes being headed by the US President, Mr Donald Trump.
In the wake of the USA antagonising China and Russia, and repeatedly warning India to not engage in armament deals with Russia if it wanted to prevent sanctions from the US, the three countries seem to be establishing a strong and reliable partnership.