This week, PM Narendra Modi heads to Uzbekistan for SCO summit; likely to meet Putin

However, given strained ties between India and China, it's unlikely that will meet with Xi bilaterally, although the two leaders will be face-to-face during various multilateral settings

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, September 15, 2022, 12:10 PM IST

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will head to Uzbekistan to attend the two-day Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will also be attending the summit.

Modi is widely expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Putin during the summit. However, given strained ties between India and China, it's unlikely that will meet with Xi bilaterally, although the two leaders will be face-to-face during various multilateral settings.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning had said, "I have no information to offer at this moment," when asked if India and China are in contact with a potential Modi-Xi meeting outside.

This comes amidst the backdrop of the two Asian giants having completed a mutual pull-back of their troops in the Gogra-Hotsprings sector of the disputed Line of Actual Control, in Ladakh. The two armies had been locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in the region, following the 2020 Galwan clashes, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

China - Russia nexus against West worries India

Moscow needs Beijing. Russia’s recent routs on the battlefields of Ukraine, coupled with the broad damage inflicted by Western sanctions, have made Chinese support all the more important. China has emerged as a major buyer of Russian commodities, purchases that have helped replenish Moscow’s coffers.

This has left India in atricky position -- on the hand, India has refused to join Western sanctions on Russia, citing its interests in procuring cheap energy and military hardware as essential for the country.

On the other hand, Indian policymakers are well aware that China offers much more to Russia than India can. An emerging Eurasian nexus between Russia and China would be a worrying development for India.

Thus, the PM's trip to Uzbekistan, and his meeting with Putin, will all be calculated to ensure that even as Russia and China tighten their "pseudo-alliance" with each other in opposition to the West and changing global geopolitical realities, that Moscow has plenty of reasons to keep India's interests in mind, even as he woos Beijing.

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