No meeting between PM Modi-Nawaz Sharif in Astana: Sushma Swaraj

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No meeting between PM Modi-Nawaz Sharif in Astana: Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swatraj on Monday ruled out any meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharf at the up coming Astana conference in Kazakhstan.

With India and Pakistan's membership, the bloc will include countries encompassing over 40 per cent of the world's population.

The accession of India and Pakistan as full members of the body will be formally announced during its annual summit on June 8 in Astana, Kazakhstan, which will be attended by President Xi Jinping. "We also expect the Astana summit will complete the admission procedures for the two countries", Hua told reporters. New Delhi skipped a summit in Beijing last month on China's "Belt and Road Initiative", an ambitious plan to promote global trade.

Discussing hostile situation in Indian held Kashmir, the foreign secretary said that Pakistan will continue to raise voice for Kashmiris at all global forums, adding that the world community has vehemently condemned the Indian atrocities in Kashmir. Communal, sectarian and ideological fault lines run deep and wide, and using armed warfare, old disputes like the Kashmir conflict overlap new, with both sides accusing the other of supporting terrorism.

Li said the question of India's bid to join the NSG is "more complicated than imagined", but added that China would support an eventual solution through consultations among the group's members.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation comprises of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The inclusion of India and Pakistan is expected test the group's internal cohesion.

The SCO was established in 2001.

Just days ahead of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), scheduled to begin from June 7, China today sought to defend its "all-weather ally" over accusations that the Kabul blasts were perpetrated by Pakistan intelligence-backed Haqqani network.

There are only a handful of countries in the SCO and a face-to-face meeting is unavoidable.

"The next candidate, according to Russian Federation, following India and Pakistan, should be Iran, as well as other states that meet our criteria for the SCO membership", he said.

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