PM in Uzbekistan for regional SCO Summit, to meet Putin today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left New Delhi this evening to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The 22nd Summit of SCO Council of Heads of State will be held tomorrow. On the sidelines of the Summit, PM Modi will hold informal talks with a number of leaders on matters of mutual interest.

According to the Russian Ambassdor to India, Denis Alipov, during informal meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin that is likely to happen in the next few hours, deliberations will be held on defence cooperation and military supplies.

The two leaders are expected to discuss the International North South Transport Corridor, bilateral trade and trade with Central Asian countries, Cooperation within the UN and G-20, Strategic stability and the situation in Indo-Pacific region. The Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

SCO Summit is expected to cover various topical, regional and international issues including reforms and expansion of the Organisation, security situation in the region, India’s cooperation with countries of the region, ways to strengthen connectivity and boost trade and tourism. The summit will conclude with the signing of the Samarkand Declaration.  Numerous other documents are also expected to be ratified during the Summit. India which is currently the chair of the SCO’s Regional Anti-terrorism Structure, is keen on boosting counter-terror cooperation with other SCO states.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation currently comprises eight full time members. Several like minded countries have expressed interest in joining the SCO. Iran is expected to be awarded full-fledged member status during tomorrow’s summit while the candidature of Belarus will be formally considered.

The summit is important for India as it will assume the rotational presidency of the SCO at the end of the Samarkand Summit. Delhi will hold the presidency of the grouping for a year until September 2023. So, next year, India will host the SCO summit.