PM Modi To Attend SCO Summit On Friday

PM Narendra Modi will attend the SCO summit on Friday morning, the second and concluding day of the summit in Samarkand, where the SCO states are expected to come up with the Samarkand Declaration.

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By: Ayanangsha Maitra | CHENNAI
Updated: 15 September, 2022 8:39 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reach Samarkand, the capital of Uzbekistan, on Thursday evening to attend the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

PM Modi will attend the summit on Friday morning, the second and concluding day of the summit in Samarkand, where the SCO states are expected to come up with the Samarkand Declaration.

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also hold a bilateral meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. PM Modi is also expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and some other leaders bilaterally on the sidelines of the summit.

The recent disengagement of troops from the patrolling point-15 at Hot Springs has caused speculation that there could be a bilateral meeting between PM Modi and President Jinping. However, there’s no official news yet on separate bilateral talks between the two leaders on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

This round will be the first in-person summit since the last SCO summit was convened in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 2019. India will assume the presidency of SCO for the period September 2022 to September 2023 from Uzbekistan.

“India will hold the next summit of SCO. Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh will most likely be awarded the rotating title of Cultural & Tourism capital of SCO,” sources from Beijing, familiar with the matter, told The New Indian on Tuesday.

Speaking on PM Modi’s participation at the SCO summit, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Thursday said, “PM’s participation in this summit is a reflection of the importance that India attaches to the SCO and its goals. This is also tied to our approach and engagement with that region as a whole.”

“We hosted the first India–Central Asia Summit earlier this year, preceded by a Foreign Minister level meeting. We remain focused on strengthening our linkages with Central Asia and the extended neighbourhood, and this visit will take this vision forward,” Vinay Kwatra added.

India assumed the Chairmanship of the Executive Council of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structures, or RATS, a significant part of SCO, in October 2021 for a year to promote cooperation in combating terrorism.

Since joining SCO as a full member, India has been making positive contributions to the SCO processes and deliberations. After the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Heads of Government is the second most important mechanism of SCO, and deals with the trade, economy and cultural agenda of the organization, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

Afghanistan, an observer state of the SCO, is not invited to the summit. In a tweet, Uzbek MP Bobur Bekmurodov said, “Afghanistan is a part of the larger SCO space. We must develop a new agenda for a more peaceful and stable Afghanistan.”

During the two-day summit in Samarkand, “the topical issues of further expanding the multilateral cooperation, the practical aspects and priority tasks of the SCO development will be considered”, the Uzbek President’s office said in a statement.

In addition to the Samarkand Declaration, several other documents are expected to be finalised during the summit. Observers in India believe, that since Russia, India, Iran and China are at the summit, the energy crisis will be on the table. The SCO summit will explore ways to strengthen connectivity and boost trade and tourism in the region.

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