- The Indian government statement did not say whether Modi would hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Shehbaz.
- The SCO gathering will take place in Samarkand on September 15 and 16.
- The Russian ambassador to China says Putin and Xi will meet at the summit.
NEW DELHI: India said on Sunday Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a regional summit in Uzbekistan where Russia says face-to-face talks will take place between Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), comprising China, Russia, four Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – India and Pakistan will take place in Samarkand on September 15-16.
On Wednesday, Russia’s ambassador to China said Putin and Xi would meet at the summit, in what will be the Chinese leader’s first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Beijing’s foreign ministry did not immediately confirm the meeting, with a spokesman saying during a regular press conference that there is “no information to provide” on the matter.
Sunday’s Indian government statement did not say whether Modi would hold bilateral talks with Putin, Xi or – for the first time since he became Prime Minister of Pakistan in April – Shehbaz Sharif.
India, like China, which gets most of its weapons from Russia, has refused to condemn the Moscow invasion of Ukraine and has ramped up purchases of Russian oil.
India’s relations with China have been frosty since the 2020 fighting on their disputed Himalayan border, which killed at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers. Modi and Xi have not held bilateral talks since 2019.
India is also part of the Quad along with the United States, Japan and Australia, a group seen as a bulwark against China.