PM Modi to chair SCO Summit today in presence of Shehbaz Sharif, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin 

This marks a significant occasion as it will be the first appearance of Vladimir Putin alongside Xi Jinping and PM Modi on such a multilateral platform since he successfully quelled a mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group in late June.

| Updated: 04 July, 2023 10:44 am IST

NEW DELHI: In an important development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit virtually on Tuesday. The 23rd Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State (CHS) will witness the participation of esteemed leaders such as Pakistan PM Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, China’s President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The summit is scheduled to take place from 12.30 PM to 14.45 PM in a single session.

This marks a significant occasion as it will be the first appearance of Vladimir Putin alongside Xi Jinping and PM Modi on such a multilateral platform since he successfully quelled a mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group in late June. The Russian President and PM Modi recently engaged in a telephonic conversation, discussing the situation in Ukraine and Moscow’s efforts in resolving the armed mercenary mutiny. PM Modi reiterated the importance of dialogue and diplomacy in resolving conflicts.

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India assumed the rotating Chairmanship of the SCO during the Samarkand Summit on September 16, 2022. As an active participant in the SCO, India has been providing substantial support to various mechanisms within the forum. India was granted Observer Status in 2005, which was later elevated to full membership in 2017. The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Towards a SECURE SCO,’ with SECURE standing for Security, Economy and Trade, Connectivity, Unity, Respect for Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity, and Environment. These themes have been at the forefront during India’s Chairmanship of the SCO.

Throughout India’s presidency, the SCO has witnessed significant milestones in various sectors. India introduced five new pillars of cooperation within the SCO, focusing on Startups and Innovation, Traditional Medicine, Digital Inclusion, Youth Empowerment, and Shared Buddhist Heritage. Additionally, India played a crucial role in establishing two new mechanisms: the Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation, and the Experts Working Group on Traditional Medicine. India aims to contribute significantly to both areas. To foster the vision of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (World is one Family) put forth by PM Modi, India emphasized building greater people-to-people connections. Under India’s SCO Chairmanship, several signature events were organized, deepening people-to-people connections. The engagement with SCO Observers and Dialogue Partners reached an unprecedented level, with their active participation in 14 socio-cultural events.

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The SCO Summit provides a platform for member countries to deepen cooperation on security matters, combat terrorism, extremism, separatism, drug trafficking, and cybercrime. The leaders will also focus on addressing the situation in Afghanistan, exploring ways to assist the country in stabilizing and rebuilding. Additionally, discussions will encompass expanding practical cooperation in transport, energy, finance, investment, free trade, digital economy, cultural exchanges, and environmental protection.

During today’s summit, there will be an anticipation of Iran becoming a full-time member, and Belarus undergoing the procedural process to join next year. In efforts to expand the multilateral platform, SCO members are reaching out to more dialogue partners. In the previous SCO Foreign Ministers Council, memorandums were signed granting dialogue partner status to Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar, and the United Arab Emirates.

The SCO Summit holds immense significance for fostering regional cooperation and addressing key challenges faced by member nations. As PM Modi chairs this important event, all eyes are on the outcomes and the path forward for enhanced collaboration among SCO member states.

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