New Delhi: An important meeting between ‘good-friends’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled this week at Bishkek, stated China. This will be Modi’s first meeting with the Chinese counterpart since the BJP’s landslide victory in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. The two leaders are scheduled to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit due to be held on June 13-14 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Indian Ambassador to China, Vikram Misri reportedly said last week that the two leaders would meet on the sidelines of the SCO summit. The SCO is a China-led eight-member economic and security bloc. India and Pakistan were admitted to the grouping in 2017. During a briefing on Monday, Chinese vice foreign minister Zhang Hanhui reportedly said, “Whether they will talk about trade fictions between China and US and the spectre of trade frictions between the US and India, such things are not surprising. I believe this could become an important topic in his (Xi’s) bilateral meetings with related leaders.”

Recalling last year’s successful first-ever informal summit between Xi and Modi at Wuhan, Misri said, ” It is worth mentioning that last year, our leaders met four times on the sidelines of different multi-lateral meetings.”

The April 27-28 Wuhan summit between Modi and Xi was largely credited to have turned around the bilateral relations soured by the 73-day Doklam standoff, triggered by Chinese troops attempts to build a road close to the Indian border in an area also claimed by Bhutan in 2017. After the Wuhan summit, both the countries stepped up efforts to improve relations on different spheres including the military-to-military ties.

In December 2018, Prime Minister Modi met President Xi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina and discussed joint efforts to further enhance mutual trust and friendship between the two giant neighbours.

Last month, Xi extended his “heartfelt congratulations” to Prime Minister Modi for winning the general elections, in a rare gesture of greeting a foreign leader well before the official announcement of the results.

(With agency inputs)