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Business News/ News / India/  India to host SCO Summit Tuesday; Xi Jinping, Shehbaz Sharif among attendees
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India to host SCO Summit Tuesday; Xi Jinping, Shehbaz Sharif among attendees

The summit will see participation from President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan along with the leaders of a number of central Asian countries

SCO Summit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually chair the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit (HT_PRINT)Premium
SCO Summit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually chair the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit (HT_PRINT)

New Delhi: India will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in a virtual format on Tuesday.

The summit will see participation from President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan along with the leaders of a number of central Asian countries. President Vladimir Putin of Russia is also expected to attend the summit. The previous edition of the leader’s level meeting took place in Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, in September last year.

The SCO Council of Heads of State will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The summit is likely to see a push for expanding the SCO, with Iran likely to accede to the organisation as a member. Besides this, the leaders are likely to push for Belarus to also accede to the SCO.

“Bahrain, Kuwait, Myanmar, the Maldives and the UAE are about to join SCO-led cooperation efforts as new dialogue partners," according to a press statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Besides this, counter-terrorism, anti-drug trafficking and anti-extremism will be the focus of this leaders level summit.

The SCO establishes cooperation between members on a variety of functional issues like economic development, security and anti-terrorism. For example, in the field of security, the grouping has established institutions like the SCO Counter-Terrorism Centre, the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), the SCO Information Security Centre and the SCO Center against International Organized Crime to bring about regular cooperation between member countries.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation began as a grouping of the Russian Federation, Central Asian republics and China in the late 1990s. It was originally intended to function as a minilateral body that would build trust and reduce tensions between these erstwhile rivals in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. The SCO as it stands today was founded in 2001 and India joined the grouping in 2017 along with Pakistan.

At the highest level, the SCO functions through a series of high level political cooperation mechanisms. These include regular meetings like the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) and the Council of Foreign Ministers. These seek to boost interaction and dialogue between the members of the organisation.

The SCO Foreign Ministers meeting took place in Goa in April. It featured participation from China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, among others.

India and SCO Summit

India joined the SCO in 2005 and became a full member of the group at the Astana Summit in 2017.

In the last six years, India has taken an active and positive role in all SCO operations.

At the SCO Summit in Samarkand in September 2022, India took over the chairmanship of the SCO for the first time from Uzbekistan.

India created five new pillars and focus areas of cooperation in SCO -- Startups and Innovation, Traditional Medicine, Digital Inclusion, Youth Empowerment, and Shared Buddhist Heritage. Two new mechanisms in SCO -- Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation and Experts Working Group on Traditional Medicine -- were created at India's initiative.

During India's presidency of the SCO, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar virtually opened New Delhi Hall in the SCO Secretariat in Beijing. To commemorate India's first SCO presidency, a commemorative stamp was issued.

On May 4-5 this year, India also hosted the Foreign Ministers of SCO in Goa, this was marked by a colourful cultural program and substantive discussions the following day. Goa showcased its warm hospitality, unique culture, and distinct heritage.

Xi Jinping's speech at SCO Summit in focus

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said Beijing stands ready to work with other members to build an even closer SCO community with a shared future.

"As a founding member, China views the SCO as a priority in its foreign affairs. We stand ready to work with other members to act on the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative, build an even closer SCO community with a shared future and usher in a brighter future for the Eurasian continent," Ning said.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan foreign ministry said, "The Prime Minister's (Shehbaz Sharif's) participation in the CHS illustrates the high importance that Pakistan attaches to the SCO, as an important forum for regional security and prosperity, and enhanced engagement with the region," 

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Published: 03 Jul 2023, 07:10 AM IST
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