First time since border standoff, Modi, Xi on one platform

THE STAGE is about for the primary encounter between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping since the border standoff in eastern Ladakh that started in May, with the 2 leaders scheduled to participate during a virtual interaction at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit Tuesday.

Modi also will share a virtual platform with the Chinese President on November 17 for the BRICS meeting and on November 21-22 for the G-20 summit. the 2 leaders have met a minimum of 18 times within the last six years but last shared a platform on March 26 when Saudi Arabia held a virtual G-20 gathering over the Covid pandemic.

Officials said chances of a border thaw at the SCO meeting are “bleak”, given the hard positions the 2 sides have taken. Besides, unlike within the past SCO, BRICS and G-20 summits, where the leaders could meet in retreat sessions and have interaction in freewheeling discussions, the virtual format doesn’t provide for one-on-one conversations.

In 2017, the nearly three-month-long Doklam border stand-off was resolved just before the BRICS summit in September 2017 in Xiamen. The Chumar border stand-off in September 2014 was also resolved after Modi raised the difficulty with the visiting Chinese President in Ahmedabad.

But this point , there has been no sign of disengagement and de-escalation after eight rounds of military talks, six rounds of diplomatic talks and a minimum of one face-to-face meeting between the Indian and Chinese NSAs, Defence ministers and External Affairs ministers.

So far, the key factor that has kept tensions in restraint is that the absence of escalatory moves on the border since External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese State Councillor and secretary of state Wang Yi agreed on a joint approach to defuse things .

Russia is chairing the SCO and BRICS summits. The SCO summit also will be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Putin , among others.

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Sources said that this year, the summit will end with the adoption of a Moscow Declaration. there’ll even be SCO statements on issues just like the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of war II, digital economy, Covid, cyber terrorism and therefore the drug threat, sources said. there’ll even be decisions concerning major projects and initiatives in trade and economy.

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