China on Tuesday hinted that the leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) may discuss the issue of sanctions threat by the US on countries buying Russian weapons, when they meet in Tajikistan on Thursday.
The Donald Trump administration has late last month imposed sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on China for purchasing S-400 missile defence system and SU-35 fighters from Russia.
The US administration is required, under CAATSA, to impose sanctions on any country that has "significant transactions" with Iran, North Korea or Russia.
The Act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions, in the backdrop of its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections.
Nothwithstanding the US pressure of sanctions, India on Friday last signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy the S-400 Triumf air defence system which can engage up to 36 targets at a time and simultaneously launch 72 missiles.
When asked whether the issue of US sanctions would be discussed at the SCO meet being held on October 11 and 12 as China, Russia and India were its member, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun said: "China is firmly opposed to other countries imposing sanctions on the military cooperation and weapons trade between China-Russia.
"We brook no challenge from others. Other countries have no right to interfere in our cooperation," he told reporters, ahead of the SCO meet which Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to attend.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to attend the meet.
The SCO is comprised of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India along with Pakistan was admitted into the organisation last year as full members.
Zhang said at the meeting the leaders will have in depth discussions on how to expand the areas of cooperation and coordination as well as "actively responding to militarism, bullying and other acts".
"I believe SCO can provide a good platform for such discussions and our countries will stick together as passengers in same boat," he said, adding that China Russia military trade in technology will continue to be firmly advanced.
He said, at the same time, the SCO is not a military or political group and it not aimed at provoking confrontation with any other country or group of countries.
SCO is committed to promote regional economic development and upholding regional security, he said.