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India, China to discuss Iran

India and China are expected to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Beijing later this week.

New Delhi: India and China are expected to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Beijing later this week to review the progress of some key initiatives like firming up the contours of a maritime dialogue and discuss the Iranian nuclear row.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna flies to Beijing Tuesday for the June 6-7 summit of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The SCO comprises Russia, China and energy-rich Central Asian states, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

He is expected to pitch for a greater role for India`s involvement in the SCO which is dominated by Russia and China. India currently enjoys the status of an observer at the SCO and is looking for an upgrade to full membership of the Central Asia-focused organisation. However, any decision on expanding the membership is unlikely at the SCO summit.

As this is the year of the India-China friendship, the two sides are in the process of setting up a bilateral meeting between Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

With barely days to go before the US and the EU sanctions against Iran become operational, the two ministers are expected to discuss the Iran sanctions and the ongoing efforts to break the deadlock over Tehran`s nuclear programme suspected by the West to be geared towards developing nuclear weapons.

China and India import around 20 percent and 10 percent of its oil from Iran respectively and are looking to continue the Iranian oil imports despite the sanctions that become operational towards June-end. China and India have different policies and imperatives regarding Iran, but they oppose any coercive plan targeting Iran and want the Iranian issue resolved through dialogue.


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