Modi-Putin bilateral likely on Friday; energy, food security on agenda | India News

NEW DELHI: While disengagement at Gogra-Hot Springs was verified and completed on Tuesday, suspense continued over the possibility of a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Samarkand this week. The two leaders will meet at the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan but neither side has confirmed a formal and substantive dialogue between them.
China said it had no information to share at a media briefing in Beijing when asked whether or not Xi will meet Modi. Official sources said the PM’s participation in the summit will be a low-key affair with Modi unlikely to have too many bilateral engagements. A bilateral meeting with Xi is not completely ruled out though. Sources also said that India and Russia are discussing the possibility of a meeting between Modi and President Vladimir Putin. Kremlin, in a statement, said on Tuesday that Putin will have a number of bilateral meetings in Samarkand.
However, the only bilateral meeting that Modi is certain to participate in at this stage is with host Uzbekistan. Efforts are also on to schedule a meeting between Modi and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Iran, which wants to resume its crude exports to India, is apparently keen on a meeting. There is no proposal yet for a meeting between Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Shehbaz Sharif from either side.
The announcement of disengagement at another friction point in eastern Ladakh just before the SCO Summit led to speculation if it was timed to facilitate a Modi-Xi meeting. Modi is also expected to depart for Samarkand only on Thursday, and not Wednesday as was being speculated earlier.

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