The consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan would be reflected at the Qingdao summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, India’s envoy to China Gautam Bambawale has said on the eve of the meeting tomorrow.
PM Modi will attend the two-day summit of the eight-member SCO in the estern Chinese city of Qingdao.
This is the first summit of the organisation after the admission of India and Pakistan as full members last year.
During his stay in Qingdao, Modi will also hold several bilateral meetings with the leaders of the SCO member countries including Xi.
“The focus on of SCO members is in the areas of security cooperation, countering terrorism, economic development as well as cultural exchange,” Bambawale told state-run China Daily and China Global Television Network (CGTN).
“We will continue to expand our cooperation in these areas. India will work with the other member countries in this direction,” he said.
The SCO members include China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
He said that India would take part in the SCO enthusiastically. Bambawale highlighted the consensus reached between Modi and Xi at their informal summit at the Chinese city of Wuhan in April and said it would be reflected at the Qingdao summit.
He said the two leaders reached consensus in two areas.
The first was that India and China are partners in progress and development.
“Second there are many more commonalties between India and China, many more areas where we cooperate with each other than where we differ with each other,” he said.
“Obviously, between any two countries, including India and China, there are some areas which we do not see eye to eye, where we have our own opinions. But the two leaders decided to work on the areas where we have common approaches. We will see that in Qingdao summit,” he said.
On India-China security cooperation in view of their differences on the border, he said, “India and China must work together in the security area too”.
“We might have our differences in terms of where our border lies. We don’t have a final resolution of India-China border. But I think it is very important for India and China to ensure that peace and tranquillity is maintained in the India, China border areas,” Bambawale said.
“If we are able to achieve this, we should not have any doubts about our wisdom and our abilities, especially of our leaders to achieve this objective and this goal,” he said.
“…If we are able to achieve this, then we will have an impact on security, not only within this region, the Indo-Pacific or the Asia Pacific region but it will have impact across the world,” he said.
On India’s participation in the SCO, he said, “We have been a very enthusiastic member of the SCO. We have participated in all the meetings of the SCO. We are looking forward to much close cooperation between India and other member countries in the SCO.”
He also highlighted the significance of Modi’s informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Sochi on May 21 “where they discussed how India and Russia view global developments and the position they take on these issues.
“As all three countries, (India, China, Russia) are members of the SCO, we believe that the organisation can play an important role in global affairs,” he said.
The main areas of the SCO’s work is security, counter terrorism and economic development and economic growth and cultural harmony and cultural exchange, he said.
“So India and China worked very closely in the past one year in all areas and to enhance the Shanghai spirit of the SCO,” he said.
Asked about the opportunities and challenges faced by the SCO in the backdrop of the current international situation, particularly the rising protectionism, he said the SCO has many opportunities to reiterate the values that it stands for, including multi-polarity, the positive effects of globalisation, adhering to global rules, working together to uphold existing institutions and contributing positively towards inter-cultural harmony.
“India believes that the SCO can work towards these goals” he said.
On India’s concerns over large deficit in bilateral trade with China, he said while the trade is growing touching about USD 84.4 billion last year, “there are some non-tariff barriers in China which need to be removed for this to happen”.
“We need to move towards more balanced trade between our two countries since only then will our commercial interaction be sustainable,” he said.
India has been asking China to open its IT and pharmaceutical sectors to address the trade deficit which climbed to over USD 51 billion last year.
(With inputs from agencies)