Krishna arrives in China for SCO summit

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

Indian officials regard the meeting 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 later this year.

As the bilateral relations 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 media here ahead of the summit. SCO members include Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Pakistan, India, Iran and Mongolia has the observer status while Turkmenistan and Afghanistan attend SCO gatherings as guest nations.

During the summit, Afghanistan and Turkey were likely to be made observers. While Belarus and Sri Lanka have the status of dialogue partners. Besides meeting Li, Krishna would also meet the two Indian traders, Syam Sunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja who after their release from illegal custody in the commodity trade hub Yiwu by local suppliers are facing a legal case to clear the dues.

Indian officials say that the case is causing strains and have been persuading Chinese government to proactively resolve it. The two who claim to be employees of a company headed by a Yamanese national paid about nine lakh RMB (about USD 1.42 lakh). In between Chinese police have released another Indian trader, Danish Qureshi two weeks ago from similar custody and sent him home. Krishna, who visited here in February last to open the new Indian Embassy building, has already taken up their issue in his previous meetings with his Chinese counterpart.