Jaishankar China Europe

Cannot Have A View Of Russia That Is Identical To European One: Jaishankar

Amid the strengthening relations with Russia, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India doesn’t expect Europe to have a New Delhi-centric view of China and Europe should also understand that India won’t move with the European view of Russia.

“My point is: just as I do not expect Europe to have a view of China that is identical to mine, Europe should understand that I cannot have a view of Russia that is identical to the European one. Let us accept that there are natural differences in relationships,” he said.

In an interview with a leading German economic daily, Handelsblatt during his visit to the Munich Security Conference in Germany, EAM Jaishankar highlighted the challenges faced by India to manage its energy supplies after the Russia-Ukraine war.

“Both sides (Russia and Europe) have communicated their positions clearly and have not emphasized their differences. But yes, there are differences. You mentioned the energy issue. When the fighting started in Ukraine, Europe shifted a large part of its energy procurement to the Middle East – until then the main supplier for India and other countries. What should we have done?” EAM Jaishankar said on being asked if Europe’s differences with Russia put a strain on India-Europe relations.

“In many cases, our Middle East suppliers gave priority to Europe because Europe paid higher prices. Either we would have had no energy because everything would have gone to them. Or we would have ended up paying a lot more because you were paying more. And in a certain way, we stabilized the energy market that way,” he added.

The minister also insisted on mediating talks with Russia and Ukraine to end war in the region and said that India would be happy to help but won’t initiate anything in this direction on its own.

“We (India) have already helped with very specific issues. When Turkey negotiated the corridor through the Black Sea, for example. And we were very supportive of the inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. Wherever we can help, we are happy to do so. We are open when we are approached. However, we do not believe that we should initiate anything in this direction on our own,” he said.

India and Russia have maintained a robust strategic partnership, rooted in historical ties and shared interests, over decades. Central to this relationship is extensive defence cooperation, with Russia serving as a major supplier of military equipment to India and both nations engaging in joint military exercises, co-development of advanced military platforms, and technology transfers, according to the Russian news agency.

More recently, energy collaboration has become another strong pillar of bilateral ties. The Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP), India’s largest, is being built in Tamil Nadu with technical assistance provided by Moscow.

Russia’s expertise in nuclear technology has been instrumental in advancing India’s capabilities, fostering a mutually beneficial partnership, according to RT. The two countries have pledged to deepen their nuclear cooperation, recognizing its strategic importance for energy security and technological advancement.

Over the past 18 months, India has emerged as one of the largest importers of Russian oil–a stand New Delhi has had to defend on many occasions from accusations by Western media, and even some political leaders, of funding ‘Russia’s war’ with Ukraine. (ANI)

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UK Lambasts China For Persecution Of Uyghurs, Tibetans

UK Lambasts China For Persecution Of Uyghurs, Tibetans

The United Kingdom on Tuesday severly criticised China for the persecution, arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and Tibetans and asked Beijing to “guarantee an impartial judiciary” and implement measures to allow genuine freedom of religion without fear of surveillance and torture.

Simon Manley, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has delivered a set of four strong recommendations to China targeting various aspects of human rights violations, urging China to address key concerns.

Manley called to “cease the persecution, arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and Tibetans.”

He also urged China to “allow genuine freedom of religion or belief and cultural expression, without fear of surveillance, torture, forced labour or sexual violence and implement OHCHR recommendations on Xinjiang.”

The UK strongly called for the repeal of China’s national security law in Hong Kong, aligning with UN suggestions. Manley specifically called for the cessation of prosecutions, including that of media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

“Repeal the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong as recommended by the UN and cease prosecutions including of Jimmy Lai,” he said, giving recommendations to China.

The UK representative also called for a “guarantee of an impartial judiciary,” demanding an end to “harassment of lawyers, the use of the death penalty, and residential surveillance in designated locations.”

UK’s Manley urged China to lift “restrictions on civil society and independent media,” while also calling for an immediate halt to forced repatriations and the cessation of targeting human rights defenders.

“Cease the restrictions of civil society and independent media and forced repatriations and stop targetting human rights defenders,” he also said.

A recent report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has shed light on a troubling pattern in China, where nearly half of the journalists imprisoned in 2023 were identified as Uyghurs.

As many as 44 journalists are in jail and about half of them are Uyghurs. This shows Beijing’s poor press freedom record and its human rights abuses against the majority-Muslim ethnic group, report added.

The data, offering a global overview of journalists incarcerated for their work as of December 1, paints a concerning picture of press freedom in China, especially concerning its treatment of the majority-Muslim ethnic group.

Notably, China’s human rights record is facing international scrutiny during the fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, taking place from January 22 to February 2.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a peer-review process under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, where UN Member States assess each other’s human rights records, their fulfilment of human rights obligations and commitments, and provide recommendations to the State under review.

This is China’s fourth appearance before this mechanism. The last one was in November 2018. At the time, countries called out the existence of mass detention camps for Uyghurs a few months after they were revealed by a UN committee.

During China’s 3rd UPR in November 2018, China received 346 recommendations from 150 countries, and accepted 284 of them, with many questionably noted as ‘accepted and already implemented.’

Despite a seemingly high acceptance rate, China broadly rejected recommendations on the rights of Uyghurs and Tibetans, cooperation with the UN and unrestricted UN access to all regions of the country, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, the death penalty and the ratification of international treaties.

Since 2018, mounting human rights abuses have been largely documented by a range of UN human rights bodies.

In the absence of a UN Human Rights Council debate on the human rights situation in China, the UPR is a rare moment of global scrutiny of the country’s human rights crisis. (ANI)

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Pokhara Airport

Nepal Engulfed In China’s Debt Trap Over Pokhara Airport Deal: NYT Report

In the shadow of the magnificent Himalayas, Pokhara, Nepal’s scenic paradise, welcomed a Sichuan Airlines flight from China in June, marking a momentous occasion for the city. The newly constructed international terminal at Pokhara’s airport, a project largely financed and executed by Chinese companies, had finally become operational. However, beneath the surface of this grand opening lay a complex and unsettling reality – one that highlighted China’s controversial infrastructure influence and its geopolitical rivalry with India, The New York Times reported.

For over four decades, Nepal had aspired to establish an international airport in Pokhara, envisioning it as a catalyst for transforming the city into a global tourist destination. Unfortunately, the project had languished due to political instability, bureaucratic challenges, and financial difficulties. That was until China stepped in to fill the void, furthering its quest to create an alternative sphere of influence, challenging American dominance on the global stage. Nepal, located south of China and with close ties to India, represented an enticing geopolitical prospect.

The airport’s construction was a part of China’s grand ambitions, aligning with President Xi Jinping’s signature infrastructure campaign, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which promised substantial investments in infrastructure projects worldwide. However, Nepal discreetly rejected the notion that the Pokhara airport was a part of the initiative. This discrepancy propelled the airport into a diplomatic tug-of-war between China and India, according to The New York Times.

While dozens of countries, including Nepal, convened in Beijing for the 10th-anniversary celebration of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s overseas development endeavors were under scrutiny for their exorbitant costs and poor-quality construction. The Pokhara airport exemplified the perils that came with importing China’s infrastructure-at-any-cost development model, disproportionately benefiting Chinese firms at the expense of the borrowing nation.

China CAMC Engineering, the construction division of state-owned conglomerate Sinomach, played a pivotal role in the Pokhara airport project. It imported building materials and machinery from China, and the airport itself was brimming with Chinese-made security and industrial technology. Despite China’s claims about the project’s quality, an investigation by The New York Times revealed an unsettling narrative.

Multiple individuals involved in the project and a thorough examination of thousands of documents indicated that China CAMC Engineering had consistently dictated terms to maximize profits and protect its interests. Simultaneously, it systematically dismantled Nepali oversight. As a consequence, Nepal found itself entangled in significant debt to Chinese creditors without the expected influx of passengers to repay the loans.

Before construction commenced, Nepal’s finance minister had signed a memorandum of understanding supporting CAMC’s proposal in 2011, even before an official bidding process had started. The Chinese loan agreement exclusively allowed Chinese firms to bid for the project. CAMC initially submitted a bid for USD 305 million, nearly double Nepal’s cost estimate for the airport. This drew criticism from Nepali politicians, who accused the process of being rigged and the price inflated. Following the outcry, CAMC lowered its bid to USD 216 million, reducing the cost by approximately 30 percent.

In 2016, China and Nepal formalised a 20-year agreement for the project, with a quarter of the funding provided as an interest-free loan. Nepal intended to borrow the remainder from China’s Export-Import Bank at a 2 per cent interest rate, with repayment scheduled to begin in 2026.

As construction progressed, glaring issues came to light. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal was responsible for overseeing the Chinese contractor, but the lack of experienced personnel, combined with the inadequate allocation of funds for consultants, hampered the project. Initially earmarked at USD 2.8 million, the budget for hiring consultants to ensure CAMC’s compliance with international construction standards was eventually reduced to a mere USD 10,000, diverting funds elsewhere.

This lack of oversight allowed CAMC to initiate work before consultants were in place and perform construction work that did not meet international standards. Key components, such as soil density tests for the runway’s foundation, were omitted, jeopardising the runway’s future stability. Other oversights included the airport’s drainage system design, ignoring historical rainfall data and sloping topography, increasing the risk of flooding. The quality of Chinese-made building materials and the identity of vendors were inadequately documented, contravening the terms of CAMC’s contract with Nepal, as reported by The New York Times.

While consulting efforts were expected to oversee CAMC’s work, the Chinese company managed to sidestep consultants and interact directly with Nepali officials who had limited construction experience. Any efforts to seek additional information or documentation were often fruitless.

China’s Export-Import Bank had commissioned China IPPR International Engineering, a consulting firm, to ensure the quality, safety, and schedule of the project and to confirm Nepal’s satisfaction with CAMC’s work. However, the situation grew murkier in 2019 when CAMC acquired IPPR, turning it from a sister company into a direct subsidiary. IPPR’s fees came from Nepal as part of its loan from the Chinese bank.

Chinese engineers working on the project claimed that they were instructed not to scrutinise CAMC’s work closely, with a focus on delivering an airport rather than a “chicken farm.” Furthermore, allegations surfaced that documents related to the qualifications of IPPR’s workers in Pokhara had been falsified. In some cases, even employee credentials were manipulated. Such practices revealed a disconcerting disregard for transparency and accountability.

CAMC and IPPR remained unresponsive to inquiries and requests for comments about their involvement in the Pokhara airport project.

In a troubling incident, Zhu Zhanfeng, the project site manager for the contractor, boasted about the airport’s adherence to the “Chinese standard,” the New York Times reported.

Yet, what went unmentioned was a tragic incident involving Zhu from three years earlier. In 2019, Zhu struck and killed a pedestrian in Pokhara following a night of drinking. Police suspected he was intoxicated when he hit Deu Kumar Tamang, who was walking in a crosswalk. Tamang’s tragic death led to a contentious compensation offer from CAMC, starting at 1 million Nepali rupees (approximately USD 7,500). When the family declined, CAMC offered to double the payment and provide space for a coffee shop within the new airport. Eventually, the family accepted the offer, with the condition that payment would only be made after Zhu’s release from prison.

However, allegations arose that CAMC sought to downplay the incident by arguing that Tamang had been drinking and had contributed to the accident. The case went to trial, with Zhu being found guilty of a “traffic death” and sentenced to four months in prison. This sentence, considered lenient by many, was further reduced to time already served, causing outrage among the victim’s family. Nabin Tamang, Deu Kumar Tamang’s brother, expressed disappointment in the justice system, perceiving it as prioritizing the project’s progress over seeking justice.

The opening of the Pokhara airport in January 2023 was marred by geopolitical tensions. The Chinese Embassy in Nepal declared the airport as “the flagship project” of China and Nepal’s Belt and Road Initiative cooperation, despite its pre-existing status. This declaration ignited a diplomatic dispute, with India’s skepticism regarding the Chinese initiative further complicating the situation, according to The New York Times.

As Pokhara airport struggled to attract international flights, especially from Indian airlines, Nepal’s aspirations for the airport were put in jeopardy. Buddha Air, Nepal’s largest airline, had requested permits for flights to India but awaited approval from the Indian government. A feasibility study commissioned by CAMC had projected passenger numbers that would enable the airport to repay its loans from profits, but as of now, no international flights have commenced.

Nepali officials have reportedly requested that China convert the loan into a grant due to the airport’s financial challenges, a matter discussed during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to Beijing in late September. The joint statement issued by China and Nepal during the visit acknowledged the completion and operation of the Pokhara airport but made no mention of plans to waive the loan.

The construction of Nepal’s Pokhara airport, primarily funded and executed by Chinese companies, has raised concerns about the quality of work, the manipulation of oversight, and the burden of debt on Nepal. Additionally, the airport’s association with China’s Belt and Road Initiative has ignited diplomatic tensions with India, making it challenging for the airport to attract international flights.

The Pokhara airport serves as a stark example of the pitfalls associated with importing China’s infrastructure development model, highlighting concerns about financial sustainability and transparency, all while fueling geopolitical rivalries in the region, The New York Times reported. (ANI)

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BSF china

BSF Finds China-Made Broken Quadcopter In Tarn Taran District

Yet another Pakistani drone was found in a broken condition by Border Security Force (BSF) troops on the outskirts of Rasoolpur village in Tarn Taran district on Thursday.

“On Thursday at about 1:15 pm, on specific information regarding the presence of a drone, a search operation was launched by BSF on the outskirts of Rasoolpur village, Tarn Taran district. Further, during the search at about 2:20 pm, a drone in broken condition was recovered from a field near the bank of the canal of Rasoolpur village,” BSF said in a release.

The recovered drone was a Quadcopter (Model – DJI Matrice) a model made in China.

Earlier, the BSF has recovered yet another Pakistani drone with one packet suspected to be heroin from a paddy field on the outskirts of Dhaone Khurd village in Amritsar. On October 3 during evening hours, on specific information, a search operation was launched by BSF at the outskirts of Dhanoe Khurd village. (ANI)

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IAF Prachand Choppers

IAF To Buy 156 More Prachand Choppers For Deployment Along China, Pak Border

In what could be termed as one of the biggest pushes for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ in the defence sector, the Indian Air Force is going to place orders for 156 more Prachand Light Combat Helicopters, with HAL, which would be deployed at both the China and Pakistan front by the IAF and the Indian Army.

The two services have already inducted 15 of these choppers in their fleet in the last 15 months after holding trials in the most extreme weather conditions and terrain in the world.

“The Indian Air Force as the lead service has moved a proposal to the government for buying 156 more Prachand choppers as a joint acquisition case which is likely to get approved soon,” senior defence officials told ANI.

Recently, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari had announced from foreign soil about the force’s intent to buy around 100 more Light Combat Aircraft Mark 1A to push indigenisation.

The combined total of the two projects in terms of worth is over Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

Of the 156 choppers, 66 would be inducted by the Indian Air Force while the rest 90 would be acquired by the Indian Army.

Meeting the Indian Air Force requirement of being a completely Indian Designed, developed and manufactured weapon system, the Prachand has been extensively test-flown by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The attack helicopter has been built as per the requirements of the Indian armed forces to operate both in desert terrains and high-altitude sectors.

Prachand is the world’s only attack helicopter that can land and take off at an altitude of 5,000 metres (16,400 ft), which makes it ideal to operate in the high-altitude areas of the Siachen glacier and Eastern Ladakh.

It is also capable of firing a range of air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles and can destroy air defence operations of the enemy.

It is also going to be equipped with newer Dhruvastra air-to-ground missiles which can destroy hardened shelters of the enemy in high altitude as well as other terrain.

The IAF is also buying a significant number of these choppers to keep the machines ready for export requirements and sale to friendly foreign countries.

The number of these choppers in the services is expected to go beyond 300 to meet full military requirements and is also expected to find buyers in the export markets soon. (ANI)

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Arunachal CM Criticises China For Denying Visas To Athletes

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khanduhas taken on China for denial of regular Visas the Arunchal atheletes for the Asian Games. Khandu said that athletes and officials from the state not getting visas for China is not a new thing for them. 

The three players from Arunachal Pradesh – Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu were supposed to participate in individual matches at the Guali Cultural and Sports Centre in Xiaoshan district in the ongoing Asian Games. However, they were denied entry and couldn’t compete in their respective events.

Speaking about China’s decision to deny Arunachal’s Wushu athletes a chance to participate in the respective events Khandu said, “China denying our athletes and officials visas is not a new thing for us. It is very unfortunate that they keep creating obstacles, this is not good. They claim that Arunachal Pradesh is their part but in history, Arunachal has never been a part of China. Everyone knows this.”

Hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, Onilu and Mepung, who were approved to participate by the Hangzhou Asian Games 2023 Organising Committee, were unable to download their accreditation cards, which act as visas to enter China.

The third athlete Nyeman, who managed to download her accreditation, was informed that she would not be allowed to travel beyond Hong Kong. The athletes were to take part in individual events of the martial arts sport.

Labelling this action as discriminatory, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur had cancelled his visit to China as a mark of protest while emphasizing that it goes against the Olympic Charter, a stance deemed “unacceptable” by India.

Union Minister asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.

“It is not acceptable to India and I have cancelled my trip to China on these grounds as they have denied the opportunity to the players from Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of the Asian Games. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India,” Thakur told reporters earlier in the month.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also expressed his dissatisfaction over China’s action and labelled the incident “shameful” and called on the Centre to register a strong protest with Chinese officials in Beijing.

“While everyone is rightly celebrating the medals that India is winning daily at the Hangzhou #AsianGames, let’s not forget that China disgracefully refused to allow three Indian athletes entry into their country because they were born in Arunachal Pradesh,” Tharoor had posted on X .

Wushu events have concluded on Thursday with Roshibina Devi Naorem clinching a silver medal in the women’s 60 Kg Wushu at the Asian Games on Friday. (ANI)

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Passport Seva Divas Jaishankar

It Has Never Been An Easy Relationship: Jaishankar On China

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday (local time) highlighted India-China relations that have gone through cycles of conflict and cooperation over nearly 75 years and said that the relationship between the two nations has not been easy.

“I was the ambassador in 2009, right after the global financial crisis, till 2013. I saw the change of guard in China, and then I came to the US. It has never been an easy relationship. It always had its share of problems,” Jaishankar said at the ‘Discussion at Council on Foreign Relations’ in New York.

He said that despite the history of war and military incidents, there hasn’t been a military or combat fatality on the border since 1975.

“It had a war in 1962, it had military incidents after that. But after 1975, there’s never been a military, a combat fatality on the border,” added Jaisahnakr.

However, calling it one of the ‘pleasures’ to deal with China, Jaishankar said that there is always certain ambiguity as the Chinese never actually tell the reason behind their actions.  

“One of the pleasures of dealing with China is that they never quite tell you why they do things, so you often end up trying to figure it out. There is always certain ambiguity, said Jaishnakar”.

The EAM further said that the Indo-China relationship has never been an easy one and has always had its share of problems.

India and China’s strained relationship has been fueled by recent Chinese provocations, including releasing the 2023 edition of its “standard map”, staking a claim over Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin region and denial of visas to Indian athletes in the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Jaishankar also said that today India is one of the few countries that has the ability to bridge the sharp East-West polarisation and North-South divide.

“One of the contradictions and it was very visible at the G20. You have a much sharper East-West polarization, whose immediate, but not only cause is the conflict in Ukraine. You have particularly because of Covid, but not only because of Covid, a very deep North-South divide. And I would say we are one of the few countries, who have the ability to actually bridge both these issues,” he said.

He further emphasised the number of groupings and blocs that India has become a part of lately.

“It’s interesting if you look at the last decade. We have become members of more organizations. QUAD, after 2008 was revived in 2017. It’s been upgraded steadily, it has become at the level of President in 2021,” the EAM said.

He added, “The most recent is the India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor. We have a grouping called the I2U2, which involves India, Israel, the US and the UAE. We joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. We have a few more organisations of a more local proximate nature”. (ANI)

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African Union Chairperson

India Is A Superpower, Ahead Of China Now: African Union Chairperson

President of the Union of Comoros and chairperson of the African Union (AU), Azali Assoumani, on Sunday said India is a superpower in terms of “inhabitance” and “ahead of China now”.

Assoumani said as the fifth superpower in the world, there was enough room for India in Africa. H

“India is the 5th superpower in the world so there is enough room for India in Africa. We also know that India is so powerful that it went to space. So we just need to coordinate…India is a superpower in terms of inhabitance, India is ahead of China now,” the AU chairperson said. 

He also praised India for advancements in space research.

Opening up on the moment when Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged him after formally inducting the African Union into the G20 family, the AU Chairperson said it was an emotional one for him. 

He added that he thought there would be a debate before a decision is arrived at but the African Union was announced as part of the G20 family at the very outset of the two-day summit on Sunday.

“I was about to cry. It was a great emotion for me. Because actually, we thought that there was going to be a debate and then a decision would be taken but at the very beginning of the Summit it was announced that we were a member,” he said. 

In his opening remarks at the 18th G20 Leaders’ Summit on Saturday, PM Modi invited the African Union, represented by Assoumani, to take a seat at the table of G20 leaders as a permanent member.

The African Union chairperson expressed his gratitude to the G20 member countries for the historic inclusion of the bloc in the G20 family.

Assoumani took to his official handle on ‘X’ to post, “The G20 has just ratified, through the voice of the Prime Minister of India, @narendramodi, the admission of the @_AfricanUnion into its fold. On behalf of the African continent, I sincerely thank all the member countries of the @g20org for this historic admission.”

On Sunday, PM Modi held a meeting with Assoumani, congratulating him on the African bloc joining the G20 family.

Taking to his official handle on ‘X’, PM Modi posted, “Had a very fruitful meeting with @PR_AZALI. Congratulated him once again on @_AfricanUnion joining the G20 family. Comoros is vital to India’s SAGAR Vision. Our deliberations included ways to enhance cooperation in areas like shipping, trade and more.”

Earlier in the day, PM Modi called the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 a “significant stride” towards a more inclusive global dialogue.

He stated that India was looking forward to collaborative efforts that benefit the entire world.

African Union is a union consisting of 55 member states in Africa. The move to include the African Union in the G20 grouping was proposed by PM Modi earlier this June. (ANI)

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Italian PM Quitting China's BRI

Italian PM Hints Quitting China’s BRI

Leaving the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) also known as Silk Road does not compromise relations with China, but the decision still has to be taken, Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni said on Sunday, the Italian media, Corriere della Sera daily reported.

On the sidelines of the G20 Summit, the Italian PM met Chinese Premier Li Qiang and shared her plan to pull out of the BRI, as per the Italian media report.

In the press conference on the last day of the G20 Summit, Meloni turned to talk about the conversation she had with the head of the Chinese government.

“A cordial and constructive dialogue on how we can deepen our bilateral partnership… I intend to keep my commitment to visit China… It makes more sense to go to China when we have more information on our bilateral cooperation and how to develop it,” Meloni said at the conference. 

“Leaving the Silk Road does not compromise relations, but the decision still has to be taken,” the prime minister assured.

“The Italian government was invited to the Belt and Road Forum, but yesterday we didn’t talk about it,” with the Chinese prime minister., Meloni said at the conference.

Earlier, Corriere della Sera daily reported that the prime minister has communicated to her counterpart her intention to exit the strategic project for Beijing. However, Li Qiang made one last attempt to provoke a rethink on the part of the Italian authorities.

It is pertinent to mention that Italy was the only G7 nation to sign up for the BRI, a global trade and infrastructure plan modelled on the old Silk Road that linked imperial China and the West.

At the conference, PM Meloni also talked about Africa and said that the country was central to the work of the G20 “We also consider this to be our success. “Africa will also be one of the central issues that we will bring to the G7 (under the Italian presidency) next year,” she added according to Italian media. 

The Italian PM, who arrived in India on Friday, held a bilateral meeting with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

Notably, this is the second visit of Prime Minister Meloni to India following her State visit in March 2023, during which bilateral relations were raised to the level of a Strategic Partnership.

The two leaders noted with satisfaction the completion of 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. They also took stock of the progress in diverse areas of the India-Italy Strategic Partnership and agreed to bolster cooperation in areas like defence and new and emerging technologies. They noted the need for G7 and G20 to work in consonance for the greater global good. (ANI)

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Li Qiang Will Attend G20

Not Xi, Li Qiang Will Attend G20 In India, Confirms Beijing

Setting at rest all speculations around Chinese President Xi Jinping’s participation at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has announced that Li Qiang will attend the 18th G20 Summit to be held in New Delhi, India on September 9 and 10. 

Quoting foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, the statement read, “At the invitation of the government of the Republic of India, Premier of the State Council Li Qiang will attend the 18th G20 Summit to be held in New Delhi, India, on September 9 and 10.”

However, no reason was given in the statement about Xi’s absence from the summit.

Earlier, Reuters had reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to skip the G20 Summit to be held in India.

Sources in China, two of whom said they were informed by Chinese officials, added they were not aware of the reason for Xi’s expected absence, according to Reuters.

The Chinese President has made few overseas trips since China abruptly dropped its Covid restrictions. He, however, attended the BRICS Summit in South Africa last week.

Several G20 ministerial meetings in India ahead of the summit have been contentious as Russia and China together opposed joint statements which included paragraphs condemning Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine last year, according to Reuters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Xi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit during which he highlighted India’s concerns over the unresolved issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in Ladakh.

The two leaders agreed to direct their relevant officials “to intensify efforts at expeditious disengagement and de-escalation”.

Along with Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin will also not attend the summit in India.

According to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov is expected to attend two plenary sessions on September 9 and 10. Lavrov is scheduled to hold several bilateral talks and contacts on the sidelines of the summit. (ANI)

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