After three years, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries are sitting face-to-face in Uzbekistan. However, confusion is growing over whether the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take place at the end.
Not only in India but also in the international camp, there is an intense curiosity about the possibility of this meeting. But whether the meeting will take place at all, the Ministry of External Affairs did not clear even when the Prime Minister left for Samarkand. Even in today’s program of Modi published by the ministry the other night, there is no mention of a meeting with Xi at least. Moreover, Modi left for Samarkand much later than the scheduled time. He reached Samarkand after nine o’clock at night. Speculation in diplomatic circles is that the planned delay is to avoid the possibility of Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting together at the opening ceremony of the SCO summit.
Comments of the diplomats
According to diplomatic sources, Beijing has been talking with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for several days. The initiative to withdraw troops from Gogra and Hot Spring (Patrolling Point-15) was the result of that discussion. Delhi’s clear statement was that if the two countries meet at the highest level (even if it is a side meeting), the Prime Minister of India can’t return empty-handed. There are several assembly polls ahead. Given the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, untangling China is crucial for the BJP.
As a result, till the last moment, Indian diplomatic leaders were trying to get more promises to push back the Chinese army. That is why the South Block remained silent on the possibility of an India-China side meeting. If it is seen that the Chinese leadership cannot be softened in any way, Modi may not sit in the meeting.
The stance of the foreign secretary
Yesterday, when repeatedly questioned about the possibility of this meeting, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said in a special press conference that the Prime Minister will have a bilateral side meeting with the President of the host country Uzbekistan and some other state leaders (including SCO). Other bilateral meetings will be announced as events unfold.
Modi, eager to do something new on the question of foreign policy, rocked with Xi in 2014 near Sabarmati after becoming the prime minister. In 2018, the two took a walk along the scenic lake in Wuhan. And 8 months before that, Modi and Xi had a conversation on the riverbed of ancient Mamallapuram. But even so, the Galway incident could not be prevented. It has been almost two and a half years; since the Red Army has been occupying East Ladakh. Both sides have recently withdrawn their troops from Gogra and Hot Spring (Patrolling Point-15) in Ladakh.
But the opposition alleges that India has retreated from its border while attacking the Chinese army. It is alleged that Chinese troops are still present at several points in Depsang Chowk. It is said that China has 1000 square kilometers of land.