Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that he is "excited to lead the Indian delegation for our first-ever meeting of the Council as a full member", and looks forward to "discussing a wide range of subjects" with other member states.
Addressing the press, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, "The Chinese side has accepted the Prime Minister's invitation to President Xi Jinping to have an informal summit in India in 2019. Therefore, connectivity with our neighbourhood & in the SCO region is our priority", Modi said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will open late Saturday a two-day regional security summit attended by Russia, Iran and other allies confronting rising tensions with the U.S. over trade and Washington's withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.
The plane of Air India carrying Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Qingdao Liuting International Airport for the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Qingdao city, Shandong province, China June 9, 2018.
The situation in the Indo-Pacific may figure in the talks but it is unlikely that the issue will find a mention in the SCO outcome document.
Trump said last month Washington was withdrawing from what he called "a awful one-sided deal" and would reimpose USA economic sanctions on Iran. The sanctions have impacted Russia's defence cooperation with a number of countries including India.
Guided by the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO has delivered fruitful outcomes in security, economic and cultural cooperation and made historic strides in institution building, he said.
"Despite competitive prices, India was unable to export rice to China due to their phytosanitary norms", said a New Delhi based dealer with a global trading firm, referring to food standards as well as animal and plant hygiene.
The SCO meeting comes after President Donald Trump controversially pulled Washington out of the 2015 global pact with Iran that placed limits on its nuclear programme in return for easing economic sanctions. Zhou also said he believed India and China had shared concerns on combating terrorism, as well as on promoting free trade and multilateralism, especially as China's relations with Donald Trump's administration faces growing tensions.
At present, India can only export Basmati rice to China.
Modi is expected to hold almost half a dozen bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries. I hope the courageous steps towards peace taken by President Ghani will be respected by all in the region, Prime Minister Modi said in his plenary address, news agency ANI reported.
The prime minister also met Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the president of Uzbekistan and discussed ways of deepening ties between the two countries. India, along with Pakistan, became the full-time member during Astana summit in June 2017.