May 25, 2024

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PM Modi To Join 1st Virtual SCO Summit With China & Pakistan Leaders Amid Border Standoff

2 min read

This is the first time that the annual meeting of the SCO is being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia, the current chair of SCO, has organized most of the grouping’s meetings virtually this year, except for the meetings of foreign ministers and defense ministers that were held in Moscow in September. Meanwhile, this SCO Summit is being held against the backdrop of the India-China border standoff. It will be the first time that PM Modi and the Chinese President Xi Jinping will share a platform since border stand-off between the Indian and Chinese troops in May. The two countries have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks over border tensions. President Vladimir Putin will chair Tuesday’s virtual meeting and the heads of state of the eight SCO members – Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – will speak for 10 minutes. The heads of state of four observer countries – Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia – will join the meet, and the SCO secretary general and executive director of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) will also address the gathering. Last week during a weekly briefing, Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that India will host a summit of the council of heads of government of the SCO on November 30 in the virtual format in which prime ministers of the member countries will participate. Modi, who has led the Indian delegation to the annual summit since India became a full member of SCO in 2017, had outlined his vision with the acronym HEALTH – stating healthcare cooperation, economic cooperation, alternative energy, literature and culture, terrorism-free society and humanitarian cooperation – at last year’s summit in Bishkek.

The SCO Summit is the grouping’s main body that sets the agenda and main directions for the next year. The meeting is expected to focus on all the main areas of activity, including politics, security, trade and economy, and it will conclude with the adoption of the Moscow Declaration containing the joint position of the members on global and regional issues.

There will also be statements on issues such as digital economy, Covid-19, countering terrorism, including on the internet, and countering drug trafficking. The summit is also expected to make decisions on major projects and trade and economic initiatives.

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