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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Modi-Xi summit: What do the neighbours think?

Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh feel the informal summit could help ensure regional peace.

world Updated: Apr 24, 2018 17:38 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Kathmandu/Islamabad
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping for the BRICS Summit in Benaulim, Goa in 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping for the BRICS Summit in Benaulim, Goa in 2016.(PTI File)

India’s neighbours reacted cautiously to the news of a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping but acknowledged that the meet could help bolster regional peace and boost the global economy.

Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Asif said Islamabad is happy to see the leaders of China and India holding an informal summit as it could play an active role in ensuring regional peace and improving bilateral ties.

Asif, in China to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, made the remarks after meeting foreign minister Wang Yi on Monday. However, Asif noted that Pakistan remains an “all-weather friend” of China and that the two countries will always stand side by side.

“Pakistan firmly supports China’s core interests and wishes that China will play a greater role in international and regional affairs,” he said. Asif also informed Wang about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Senior Nepalese Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, a former deputy prime minister, said India and China are trying to strike a balance at a time when the global economy has been affected by considerable tension. At the same time, the two countries are also competing to expand their clout in the region and beyond.

CPN-UML leader Milan Tuladhar, a foreign relations adviser to former Nepal premier Jhala Nath Khanal, said the upcoming summit could take China-India relations to new heights. “A closer tripartite relationship, about which India had earlier shown reluctance, may ultimately become a reality,” he said.

Former Bangladeshi ambassador to India Farooq Sobhan said Bangladesh should welcome the visit of Prime Minister Modi to China.

“Bangladesh enjoys a close relationship with both India and China and would welcome the strengthening of Sino-Indian relations.

“On trade, investment and connectivity, Bangladesh would like to see its strong bilateral relations with China and India develop into trilateral project-based cooperation encompassing both China and India. The visit of Prime Minister Modi could contribute significantly to regional economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region,” said the former Bangladeshi foreign secretary.