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Business News/ News / India/  Why PM Modi's SCO Summit 2022 attendance holds importance
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Why PM Modi's SCO Summit 2022 attendance holds importance

This will be India's 5th summit since it became a member in 2017.
  • Earlier, 2020 Moscow summit was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the 2021 summit at Dushanbe was conducted in a “hybrid mode”.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo: AP)Premium
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo: AP)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Uzbekistan on 15-16 September to attend the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. The Beijing-headquartered SCO is an eight-member economic and security bloc consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. 

    The first in-person SCO summit since 2019 will be watched closely for the possibility of bilateral meetings on the sidelines with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Putin, and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif among the leaders expected to attend. The 2020 Moscow summit was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the 2021 summit at Dushanbe was conducted in a “hybrid mode".

    This will be India's 5th summit since it became a member in 2017.

    Significance of PM Modi attending SCO Summit

    PM Modi is expected to meet Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan this week. Both the leaders will discuss issues of strategic stability, the situation in the Asia Pacific region and bilateral cooperation within the UN and G20, the Kremlin said. 

    "A conversation on the international agenda with Modi will also take place, the sides will discuss issues of strategic stability, the situation in the Asia Pacific Region, and, of course, cooperation within major multilateral formats, such as the UN, the G20 and the SCO," the official Russian news agency TASS quoted Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov as saying.

    India has refused to take sides on the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine since it started in February this year. Much to the contention of the West who have imposed several sanction on Russia as a result of the war, India abstained from UN votes on the Russian invasion. The country has instead called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis and an end to violence.

    Modi and Putin had also talked over phone on February 24 after Russia attacked Ukraine. Meanwhile, the trade turnover between Russia and India is growing - in the first six months of 2022 the figure reached USD 11.5 billion, adding about 120 per cent year-on-year, the TASS report said.

    Earlier, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also said that importing Russian oil was part of the country's inflation management strategy and that other countries were also doing something similar. “I respect the PM for his courage to get it (crude oil) from Russia because they are willing to give on discount... our entire import had 2% of Russian component, it was ramped up to 12-13% within a couple of months," she had said.

    Meanwhile, The Ministry of External Affairs has not yet confirmed the meeting between Modi and Putin. The Prime Minister is likely to hold a few bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the SCO Summit, the MEA had said.

    India will also assume the presidency at the end of the summit until September 2023 and will also host the summit next year. 

    Apart from this, India will also assume the presidency of the G20 (Group of Twenty) for a year starting 1 December 2022 and is expected to host over 200 meetings across the country during presidency tenure. “The next G20 summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9 and September 10, 2023," MEA had said.

    Also Read: ‘This is not flipping a light switch,’ US responds to India's position on Russia

    The Prime Minister would also have other bilateral meetings during the summit. The Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Manish Prabhat had said earlier that PM Modi would attend the summit and hold bilateral meetings with several leaders.

    "Leaders of SCO member countries are meeting after two years due to the COVID pandemic. Some bilateral meetings will take place on the sidelines of the SCO. Still, the programme of the meetings will be finalised in due course," Ambassador Prabhat had told ANI in an exclusive interview.

    "Economic cooperation in the SCO is an important question, which will be discussed in the SCO meetings. When we are meeting with central Asian countries, we discuss connectivity which will promote trade, investment and other exchanges between Indian and central Asian countries," he told ANI.

    Apart from Putin, PM Modi is also expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

    While there was no official word on whether Modi will have a meeting with Xi or Pakistan PM Sharif, it will be after a long time that all these leaders will be at the same venue in person for a summit meeting.

    Pakistan's Dawn newspaper on Wednesday reported that Prime Mini­ster Sharif has no plans to meet his Indian counterpart Modi in Samarkand, but did not rule out a brief courtesy meeting. “No meeting is envisaged with the Indian prime mini­ster," Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar told the newspaper.

    As India and China stated on September 8 that their forces would be leaving Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings region of eastern Ladakh, speculation is rampant about the meeting between Modi and Xi.

    When asked if asked if India and China are in contact with a potential Modi-Xi meeting outside of the SCO summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning had said, "I have no information to offer at this moment."

    On September 9, the Chinese military confirmed that the troops of China and India have begun the process of disengaging from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area of eastern Ladakh in a “coordinated and planned way."

    For the growth of bilateral relations in general, India has constantly argued that the stability along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is necessary. After a bloody altercation in the Pangong lake regions, The standoff at the eastern Ladakh border started on May 5, 2020.

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    Published: 14 Sep 2022, 03:07 PM IST
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