Krishna, in ‘holding room’, with Zardari at BeijingJune 6th, 2012 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, June 6 (IANS) Whether India-Pakistan ties will be discussed is not known, but Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is sharing what is being called the “holding room” with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Great Hall of the People here as the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit gets underway here.
Krishna is in Beijing to represent India at the summit. India, along with Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia, are the four observers at the SCO. Afghanistan will be upgraded as the fifth observer at this summit.
India has been itching to get inside the SCO tent for some time, given the grouping’s growing profile and economic importance.
As an observer, India won’t be able to take part in the leaders’ meeting, but Krishna will make a speech Thursday at the plenary session where he is expected to pitch for a larger role for New Delhi in the grouping.
The delegations from observer countries are expected to wait in the ‘Holding Room’ at Macau Hall while the leaders of SCO member countries hold their summit.
In the heart of Tiananmen Sqaure, the epicentre of a student-led people’s uprising 23 years ago that was put down with tanks, a giant TV screen flashes messages of “good neighbourliness and harmonious region”.
The six-nation SCO is dominated by China and Russia.
A few metres away, in the Great Hall of the People, the region’s showpiece diplomatic event opened Wednesday with passionate speeches on regional solidarity, security and harmony.
Hundreds of policemen and People’s Liberation Army soldiers are posted at the square to ensure the summit goes without a hitch.
The SCO comprises Russia and China and the energy-rich Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
China has invested enormous diplomatic capital in bolstering the SCO as the region’s preeminent platform for economic and security cooperation.
(Manish Chand can be contacted at email@example.com)
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