PM's statement prior to his departure to Qingdao in China

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks to reporters in Tehran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks to reporters in Tehran

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that he is "excited to lead the Indian delegation for our first-ever meeting of the Council as a full member", and looks forward to "discussing a wide range of subjects" with other member states. The two leaders took stock of the progress in implementing the decisions they had taken at their informal summit in Wuhan in April.

Qingdao: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi gears up for a series of meetings at Qingdao, it's worth taking a looking at why the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a unique gathering of countries, and what the special significance of this grouping is.

India said past year that China had not stuck to an agreement to share hydrological data, or scientific information on the movement, distribution and quality of water for the Brahmaputra river. The leaders are also supposed to focus on the issues of global trade and counterterrorism.

Modi is expected to hold almost half a dozen bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries. "Our talks will add further vigour to the India-China friendship", Modi said in a tweet. "And in that context Xi told Modi that China is looking at enhancing agricultural exports from India including non-Basmati rice and sugar", Gokhale said.

China and India on Saturday settled a dispute over the flood-prone Brahmaputra river that flows from Tibet to Bangladesh in a sign of growing cooperation between them.

China's appreciation of what Modi said was conveyed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a meeting held on the sidelines of the BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting in South Africa this week.

Rouhani is set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit, although the nuclear deal and the issue of its membership are not part of the official agenda.

Modi and Xi are expected to explore ways to deepen ties in areas of trade and investment, besides reviewing the overall India-China bilateral cooperation.

Mr. Luo said it was the 14th meeting between our two leaders over past four years.

The SCO now has eight member countries which represents around 42 per cent of the world's population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.

Modi arrived here on Saturday afternoon for a two-day visit to attend the annual SCO Summit. Modi also said that an "Asia of rivalry" will hold the region back while an Asia of cooperation will shape the current century. Under a previous agreement, Beijing is supposed to share the river data, but it stopped a year ago after the two armies had a 73-day faceoff at Doklam in the eastern sector.

The two sides also signed a protocol between the Chinese administration of Customs and Department of Agriculture on phytosanitry requirements that would enable all varieties of rice exports from India to China.

On the occasion, President Mamnoon said that Pakistan supported the Chinese chairmanship of SCO and appreciated the various initiatives proposed by China in the organization during the a year ago.

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