PM Modi SCO summit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Uzbekistan on September 15-16 to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit where leaders are expected to review the grouping's activities over the past two decades and discuss the prospects of multilateral cooperation.
The summit will be attended by leaders of SCO member states, observer states, Secretary General of the SCO, Executive Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), President of Turkmenistan and other invited guests, a Ministry of External Affairs statement said.
The prime minister is also likely to hold a few bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit, the MEA said. 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 Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif among the leaders expected to attend.
While there was no official word on whether Modi will have a meeting with Xi or Sharif, it will be after a long time that all these leaders will be at the same venue in-person for a summit meeting.
At the invitation of Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister Modi will be visiting Samarkand on September 15-16 to attend the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the MEA said.
During the summit, the leaders are expected to review the organisation's activities over the past two decades and discuss the state and prospects of multilateral cooperation in the future, the statement said.
Topical issues of regional and global importance are also expected to be discussed at the meeting, it said. This will be the first in-person summit after June 2019 when the SCO summit was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
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". The Beijing-headquartered SCO is an eight-member economic and security bloc consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
Diplomatic sources in Beijing had said earlier that host Uzbekistan has informally confirmed the attendance of all the leaders. With Modi to attend and Xi also likely to be there, it will be the first time they would come face to face after their meeting at Brasilia on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in 2019.
Since then relations between the two sides soured over the incursion by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh in May 2020, leading to a prolonged military standoff that is still unresolved.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area. The External Affairs Ministry said Friday that India and China will complete the disengagement process in the Gogra-Hotsprings area in eastern Ladakh by September 12.
The ministry's comment came a day after the Indian and Chinese armies announced they have begun to disengage from the Gogra-Hotsprings Patrolling Point 15, where the two sides have been locked in a standoff for over two years. After the Samarkand summit, India will take over the Presidency of the influential grouping of the SCO.