Modi, Xi cold handshake on cards at SCO

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, September 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to engage the Chinese President Xi Jinping in plain-speaking at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Samarkand, Tajikistan.

Xi will be seeking comforts in the company of the Russian President, as both have shown an insatiable appetite to grab others’ land, in Samarkand. The two face global heat for their compulsive transgressions with the international rules.

India-China relations slipped into the cold chambers after the People’s Liberation Army in 2020 sought to change the status quo on the line of actual control in eastern Ladakh.

While the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visited New Delhi in March when he was bluntly told by his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar that there could be nor normalcy in the bilateral relationship until the border is stable, India has stayed away from sending anyone to Beijing.

The frozen ties between the two countries would cast their shadow, as Xi tries to smell the air outside China for the first time in over two years during which his country has created havoc, first by keeping the world in dark about the leak of the coronavirus and its origins, and subsequently by profiteering from the pandemic.

The ‘Zero Covid Policy’ is seen in the world as a Chinese ploy to manufacture shortage of the goods, and cripple the global supply chain.

In this backdrop, much waters have flown in the rivers for Xi to familiarize with at the Samarkand Summit.

For Modi, the SCO Summit would be about economy and terrorism, and slotting China, while nudging the Russian President Vladimir Putin to see writing on the wall amid reports of heavy reversals in the Ukrainian battlefield and work out a face saver.

The previous engagements at the SCO Ministerial meetings attended by Jaishankar, Union Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh, besides the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval clearly saw efforts to bring the group to focus on its countering terrorism mandate.

That China in the recent months blocked a couple of the UN resolutions to designate dreaded terrorists in the list questions the credentials of Xi to command leadership at a multilateral forum.

The Chinese affiliate media has sought in the past few days to see virtue in India not joining the trade part of the Indo Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF), which amounts to be selective in interpretation.

India had also walked out of the RCEP, the regional comprehensive economic partnership, dominated by China and other east Asian countries, for concerns that there would be too much of dumping of goods against the Indian interest. The same concerns apply for not joining the trade part of the IPEF. So, that must not give any comforts to the Chinese elites.

Indeed, Modi would want the SCO members to turn their attention to the unabated violence and strife in Afghanistan amid incidents of blasts which give rise to apprehensions that the country is now hosting rabid elements of terror groups, which may pose a threat to the peace in the extended region.

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