Modi snubs Xi at SCO; No India, China bilateral on sidelines


Photo credit Twitter MEA

Spread the love

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, September 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will only have bilateral meetings with Presidents of Russia, Uzbekistan and Iran Vladimir Putin, Shavkat Mirzivoyev and Ayatollah Sayyid  Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Samarkand.

The programme details of Modi in Samarkand show a tight schedule, limiting bilateral meetings only with three heads of the state, while Tajikistan is the host, Russia and Iran are of much greater strategic interests for India.

Predictably, there is no scheduled bilateral meeting of Modi with the Chinese President Xi Jinping. This is significant in the backdrop of China finally agreeing for an outcome after the 16th military commanders meeting in Eastern Ladakh after violating the status quo in 2020 in the run up to the SCO Summit in Samarkand.

However, it was not immediately known if Beijing had sought a bilateral meeting for Xi with Modi.

Even in the inaugural photo shoot, Modi stood at one extreme end, keeping a distance from Xi, who stood in the middle of the group of the leaders of the member countries.

Afterwards, Modi again was seen sitting away from Xi during the inaugural summit meeting.

Photo credit Twitter MEA

Modi had also skipped the informal dinner on Thursday, which was attended by Xi, Putin and other leaders. Prime Minister had in fact arrived in Samarkand on Thursday evening.

Lack of warmth between Modi and Xi was expected after China made a habit of transgressions of the line of actual control, first with Doklam in 2017 and afterwards in the eastern Ladakh in 2020, as part of its well-known ‘Salami slicing’ strategy to grab territories of the neighbouring countries.

With China now emerging as a political pariah within India as people in the country have seen campaigns for boycotts of the Chinese products, Modi may be wary of a handshake with XI at the SCO.

Xi has flown outside China for the first time after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, and in the last two years many countries in the world have turned against Beijing.

While the SCO Summit is without visible warmth among the leaders, the Tokyo Quad Summit was a case of contrast where the bonhomie among the heads of the states and their commitments to promote a China alternative in the global supply chain was too visible.

Russia and Iran, indeed, are key to India’s energy security, which explains Modi’s bilateral with the heads of the two countries.

About The Author

1 thought on “Modi snubs Xi at SCO; No India, China bilateral on sidelines

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *