India to host virtual SCO summit for first time on July 4

New Delhi extended invitations to all SCO member states, including China, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 31 May, 2023 10:43 am IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the virtual SCO Summit on July 4.

NEW DELHI: India is set to host the first-ever summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) under its chairmanship in a virtual format on July 4.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will helm the 22nd Summit of the SCO council of heads of state. India assumed the rotating chairmanship at the Samarkand Summit on September 16 last year.

India’s active participation and substantial support to various mechanisms within the SCO have solidified its standing in the organization. Having obtained the Observer status in 2005, India elevated its position to full membership in 2017, affirming its commitment to regional cooperation.

In an official announcement made on Tuesday, New Delhi extended invitations to all SCO member states, including China, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Additionally, nations with ‘Observer’ status such as Iran, Belarus, and Mongolia have also been invited to partake in the summit.

In adherence to SCO traditions, Turkmenistan has been invited as the guest of honor. The heads of two crucial SCO bodies, namely the Secretariat and the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), will also be in attendance.

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Furthermore, chiefs of six international and regional organizations, including the United Nations (UN), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), have been invited to participate.

Under the theme of ‘Towards a SECURE SCO,’ coined by PM Modi during the 2018 SCO Summit, the summit will focus on key aspects encompassing security, economy and trade, connectivity, unity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and environment. These priorities have been at the forefront of India’s SCO chairmanship.

The ministry of external affairs (MEA) affirmed India’s establishment of new pillars of cooperation, including startups and innovation, traditional medicine, digital inclusion, youth empowerment, and shared Buddhist heritage.

Additionally, efforts have been made to foster stronger people-to-people ties, celebrating the historical and cultural bonds between SCO member nations. Varanasi, as the first-ever SCO cultural and tourist capital for 2022-23, has played host to various socio-cultural events in this regard.

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Throughout its chairmanship, India has successfully organized a total of 134 meetings and events, including 14 ministerial-level meetings, indicative of the intense activity and mutually beneficial cooperation between member states.

The MEA has reiterated India’s commitment to playing a positive and constructive role within the SCO, eagerly anticipating a fruitful and successful summit as the culmination of its chairmanship.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s active involvement in previous SCO Summits in Qingdao (2018), Bishkek (2019), Moscow (2020, virtual format), Dushanbe (2021, virtual format), and Tashkent (2022) underscores India’s dedication to fostering regional security, strengthening economic ties, and promoting cultural and humanitarian cooperation. During these summit meetings, PM Modi presented several significant proposals aimed at further deepening cooperation among SCO member states.

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