NEW DELHI: India and China signed two significant agreements soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao Saturday for the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). One was on China sharing hydrological information on the Brahmaputra river to India, and the other was an amendment of protocol on phytosanitary requirements for exporting rice from India to China to include non-Basmati rice.
Modi, accompanied by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, arrived at Qingdao on Saturday afternoon. After a courtesy call by the SCO secretary general Rashid Alimov of Tajikistan, who lauded India’s involvement in the eight-member security grouping after its admission at the Astana Summit in June last year, Modi held a bilateral meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping, where the two discussed the progress of decisions taken during their informal summit in Wuhan April 27-28 and other regional issues.
This is the 14th meeting between the two leaders over the past four years. The memorandum of understanding between the two ministries of water resources provides for China sharing with India hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river in flood season — May 15 to Oct 15 — each year. It also calls for China to provide hydrological data if the water level exceeds mutually-agreed levels during the non-flood season. Sharing of such information had been a sticking point in bilateral relations earlier. The protocol agreement amends the phytosanitary requirements for exporting rice from India to China and is expected to ease restrictions on the sale of non-Basmati Indian rice to China.
PM’s schedule at SCO meet
After the meeting with Xi, Modi met President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan before attending a fireworks display and the welcome banquet for SCO leaders. He met Tajik President Emomali Rahmon after dinner. On Sunday, the PM will attend the restricted as well as the plenary sessions of the SCO summit, after which the Qingdao declaration is expected to be released, calling for greater cooperation between the members
Members of the grouping
India, Pakistan, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic