Krishna arrives in Beijing for SCO summit

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Beijing, Jun 5: External Affairs Minister SM Krishna arrived here on Tuesday night on a three-day visit to participate in the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to which India is an observer. Besides attending the summit on Wednesday, Krishna is scheduled to meet Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang to review the bilateral ties between the two neighbours.

Indian officials regard the meeting to be significant as Li is tipped to take over as premier from incumbent Wen Jiabao, who is set to retire along with President Hu Jintao and other top leaders after a decade-long stint in power. While Li was expected to be premier, Vice President Xi Jinping is widely tipped to get selected for the president's post in the 18th Communist Party of China Congress scheduled later this year. As the bilateral relations have showed considerable improvement in the recent years, India looks to establish rapport with the new leaders.

The SCO summit this year is expected to focus on the situation in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the departure of US led NATO troops in 2014. Despite assertions by Russia, a dominant member of SCO to make India and Pakistan regular members, no movement on it was expected during the summit as Beijing has said there was no time limit in this regard. Countries seeking membership should work hard towards political, legal and technical preparations for the membership, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told the media here ahead of the summit. SCO members include Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Pakistan, India, Iran and Mongolia have the observer status while Turkmenistan and Afghanistan attend SCO gatherings as guest nations. During the summit, Afghanistan and Turkey are likely to be granted observer status.

PTI

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