India on Tuesday said protectionism in all its forms should be rejected

India is justified in opting out of China's ambitious multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative until its concerns are addressed. The rest of SCO's members backed the pet project of President Xi.

Kong, while talking to the Indian and Chinese journalists, said that "this would be an unprecedented summit (April 27-28) between the Chinese and Indian leaders". "You (students) all are doing great service (to the two countries)", she said. China stands for the WTO and the United States seems to be withdrawing from globalisation. But at this juncture, it would appear that Modi is reaching out to China to remove possible risks to his re-election campaign next year. Its ministry of commerce has said Beijing is ready to take measures against USA products with the same intensity and scale.

Last week, the SCMP reports, after meeting Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Wang floated the idea of a trilateral economic corridor with India and Nepal as part of its trade initiative.

The two are expected to hold discussions on trade and terrorism in the respective meetings. "We believe that more important consensus will be reached during the informal meeting in Wuhan which will contribute to the sound and stable development of China-India relations", he added.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said one reason Beijing saw value in this "informal" summit was to build a deeper relationship between Modi and Xi. However, the sources pointed out that Xi would not be able to spend as much time with Modi at Qingdao as he would at Wuhan because the demands of the SCO would keep him preoccupied.

According to a person familiar with the plans, this is the first time Xi is hosting a foreign leader to such a summit in his country. They are both widely supported by their people and have devoted a lot of energy to this relationship.

This week's meeting apparently has been in the works since December when Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had a bilateral session with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the 15th Russia-India-China trilateral here. They will have in-depth exchange of views on the issues of overarching long-term and strategic importance in the bilateral relations, he said.

India and China have in recent weeks come closer beginning with a meeting between NSA Ajit Doval and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Beijing a few weeks ago.

"This not only will benefit the two countries and two peoples, but will also have an important effect on peaceful development in the region and around the world", the ministry paraphrased Kong as telling Indian media in Beijing. "Distrust is high and tensions will remain, particularly given China's financial involvement in Pakistan, which India sees as a strategic rather than economic engagement that can hurt India", Mr Kumar said. The two sides, which share a border of some 4,000 km, were also locked in a 73-day military stand-off in 2017 near their disputed boundary.