Ufa, Russia: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive here today on a three-day visit to attend the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summits, on the sidelines of which he is likely to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
At the SCO Summit, India is expected to be accorded full membership of the six-nation grouping of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
India has till now only an Observer status in the grouping whose focus is on boosting connectivity, counter- terrorism cooperation, bolstering cooperation in energy sector, enhancing trade and dealing with drug trafficking.
The summit of five-nation BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will see discussions on enhancing cooperation in the economic area. With the BRICS Development Bank already set up, the summit could also look at the possibility of starting credit facility in local currency. The first head of the bank is noted Indian banker K V Kamath.
Besides PM Modi and Mr Xi, the BRICS Summit is being attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma.
"I expect positive outcomes in economic cooperation and cultural ties among the BRICS nations," PM Modi had said in a statement prior to his departure from Delhi yesterday.
"The (BRICS) Summit last year was productive and I am sure we will build on the ground covered during the last Summit," he had said.
He had also said that he will be meeting the leaders of BRICS nations individually and will be a part of the various interactions of BRICS leaders with captains of industry and leaders of other invited countries.
"India attaches high importance to BRICS. It is a great forum that can contribute effectively to mitigate global challenges. BRICS also has a very crucial role to play in furthering world peace and security and ensuring we leave behind a better planet for our future generations," the Prime Minister had said. .
On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, PM Modi and Mr Sharif are expected to have a meeting to discuss the bilateral relations.
The two countries have recently made goodwill gestures by releasing fishermen on the occasion of the ongoing Ramzan.
Prior to the release, PM Modi called up Mr Sharif on June 16 to convey India's decision to free the detained Pakistani fishermen on the "pious" occasion of Ramzan.
He also extended best wishes to Pakistan Prime Minister on the occasion of Ramzan while stressing the need for having "peaceful" and "friendly" bilateral ties, which have been recently hit by a war of words between the two countries.
India released 88 Pakistani fishermen while Pakistan freed 111 Indian fishermen.
Pakistan and India have been involved in a war of words recently with leaders from both sides exchanging sharp comments after PM Modi's critical remarks about Pakistan during his Dhaka visit and in the wake of India's military action in Myanmar.
PM Modi is also expected to meet Mr Xi and discuss the bilateral ties, amid India?s unhappiness over Beijing constructing an economic corridor to Pakistan.
India has raised objections to the USD 46 billion China- Pakistan Economic Corridor project passing through Pakistan- occupied Kashmir.
Part of the 3,000-km economic corridor linking Pakistan's Gwadar port with Kashgar in China's north-western autonomous region of Xinjiang will pass through the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
India has also expressed concerns over China's recent move to block action against Pakistan in the UN over release of Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.
PM Modi, who is also visiting five Central Asian countries, will travel here from Kazakhstan.
Noting that the richness of ties between India and Central Asia was written into the contours of Indian cities and daily lives there, PM Modi said one could see this in architecture, art, handicraft and textile and in most popular foods.
"The dargahs of Delhi resonate with Sufi music that draws people from all faiths. The cities of Central Asia have become centres of yoga and Hindi, long before the world came together to celebrate the International Day of Yoga on 21st June," the Prime Minister said.
However, he also rued that the engagement between India and Central Asia falls short of its promise and potential and said, "We have a special place in our hearts for each other.
But, we have not paid as much attention to each other as we should. This will change. That is why I am travelling to all five countries in the region in the early stages of my Government."
"Both India and Central Asia cannot achieve their full potential without each other. Nor will our people be safer and our region more stable without our cooperation," PM Modi said while noting that they have built modern, inclusive and pluralist nations at a time when many in the region are caught in conflict and instability.
Stressing that from theatres of conflicts to the calm neighbourhoods of distant cities, terrorism has become a global challenge as never before, PM Modi said it was a force that is larger and more enduring than its changing names, locations and targets.
"So, we must ask ourselves: Will we let a generation of youth be lost to guns and hate, because they will hold us accountable for their lost future?," he said.
Describing Kazakhstan as "a nation of global stature and respect", he said this was not just because mother nature has been generous to it with resources of every kind. "Kazakhstan is a voice of responsibility and maturity in international forums, including the United Nations."
He also recalled Kazakhstan's generosity in making way for India's bid for the membership of the UN Security Council in 2011-12 and assured India's support for the Central Asian country's bid in 2017-18.
On trade ties, PM Modi said trade was expanding, but it was still modest. The cooperation in energy sector has begun, he said while highlighting today's launch of the drilling of the first oil well with Indian investments in Kazakhstan.
He also said Indian investments in Central Asia have started flowing in and asserted that India was prepared to invest more in a new partnership of prosperity.
The Prime Minister also offered expertise in information and communication technology to create wealth and opportunities for the youth as well as in the field of space technology for closer partnership in development and resource management.