Prime minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping in the Russian city of Ufa on Wednesday as he arrived to attend the Brics and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summits.
In his fourth meeting in a year with Xi, Modi conveyed India’s disappointment and “anger among the people” at Beijing’s blocking of Delhi’s demand at the UN for action against Pakistan over its release of Mumbai attacks mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
During their 90-minute meeting, Modi also reiterated India’s concern over the $46-billion China-Pakistan economic corridor running through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Furthermore, the two leaders spoke about “accelerating the process” to resolve the long-standing boundary dispute and about India getting a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and in export-control regimes like the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
With Putin, the PM discussed defence and civil nuclear energy ties and suggested that this year’s India-Russia summit take place in the Russian city of Astrakhan, a sister city of Ahmedabad that Modi had visited as chief minister of Gujarat in 2006. Putin, on his part, told Modi he wanted to try out yoga, calling it “very appealing kind of sport”.
On the Xi-Modi meeting, foreign secretary S Jaishankar said, “The issue of Lakhvi did come up… and it was discussed in some detail.” Asked about Xi’s response, he said, “The Prime Minister made our concerns very clear. The Chinese side was impressed with the clarity with which the PM raised our concerns.”
At a meeting of the UN Sanctions Committee last month, India has demanded action against Pakistan for releasing Lakhvi but the Chinese had blocked the move on the grounds that India did not provide compelling information and evidence.
Rejecting China’s position that India had provided insufficient evidence on Lakvi’s role in the 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people, Jaishankar said the “whole world knows about it and many countries have supported the Indian position”.
India had at that time said the Chinese action was at “variance” with the progress in bilateral ties.
Modi is also expected to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday. However, there was no official confirmation of this with Jaishankar only saying he would announce it when it was ready to be announced. He also didn’t deny that it was India that had sought a meeting with the Pakistani leader.
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