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BRICS summit: PM Modi to hold talks with Putin, Xi with focus on reshaping ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to bring Russia on board to stabilise Afghanistan and improve relations with China after Doklam standoff.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2017 07:47 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
BRICS summit,PM Modi,Russian President Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister Narendra Modi emplanes for China to attend the 9th BRICS Summit, in Xiamen, at AFS Palam in New Delhi on Sunday.(PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to bilaterally meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Xiamen BRICS summit to synchronize global strategy on Af-Pak region with Moscow and rejuvenate ties with Beijing post a peaceful resolution of the Doklam standoff.

Government sources say both bilateral meetings will be crucial for India as Russia will have to be brought on board on the strategy to stabilise Afghanistan in the long term despite Moscow’s suspicion over United States President Donald Trump’s latest moves towards Kabul.

The Indian understanding is that while both Russia and US are on the same page on Afghan stability, the other factors in the relationship have added the suspicion factor where Moscow thinks that Pentagon is pushing the Salafists jihadists into confrontation against Putin. Given the stakes involved, India will discuss with Russia on how to synergize the Afghanistan strategy so that the Islamic fundamentalists are kept at bay.

Although the meeting between Xi and Modi will be watched closely, no breakthrough is expected either on border resolution or bridging of the trade deficit.

Official sources said whole lot of ground work is required for border resolution and it is not a decision that could be taken at summit-level alone. Even before the Doklam standoff started, Beijing did not share the Brahmaputra river data with India on May 15, 2017 citing flooding of the monitoring station on Tsangpo river as Brahmaputra is called.

New Delhi, however, has a different take on the issue as it feels that China did not share the data as a rebuff to India putting pressure on Pakistan over Indus Water Treaty after the Uri terror attack in September 2016. But PM Modi is pleased with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi statement calling for close bilateral cooperation with India in the run-up to BRICS summit.

Prime Minister Modi will be in Myanmar for two days after BRICS summit, where his focus will be on pushing Naypyidaw to complete the bilateral projects that have now been hanging fire for at least a decade.

Given that Myanmar was a hermit state for decades and the inherent power play between political parties and military junta, India wants the bilateral relationship to move at a faster pace. Bilatetal projects like Kaledan multi-modal link, Sitwe port, gas blocks and trilateral highway are all moving at a snail pace.

However, the bilateral cooperation between India and Myanmar has grown on the counter-terrorism front with Naypyidaw tackling the anti-India insurgents based in jungles near its western borders.

The Indian agenda is to ensure that gun-running for North-East insurgents from Ruili in Yunan province of China is interdicted and movement of insurgent leaders via Kachin state is stopped. In this context, Prime Minister Modi will push for close functional relationship between India and Myanmarese Army so that anti-India insurgents are rooted out from bordering Sagaing region of Myanmar.

First Published: Sep 03, 2017 23:40 IST