SCO 2022: PM Narendra Modi to hold bilateral talks with Putin, Mirziyoyev and Iranian President Raisi on sidelines of Summit

Samarkand: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Samarkand on Thursday night, will attend the first in-person summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in two years in the historic Uzbek city here on Friday. The summit of the eight-member grouping will see the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other leaders from the Central Asian countries. 

PM Modi will deliberate on major regional security challenges and issues like trade, investment and energy supplies. On the sidelines of the summit, the Prime Minister is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with Russian President Putin, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Iranian President Raisi. He met Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO ) Summit.

PM Modi also posed for a group photograph at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO ) Summit in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and central Asian leaders. 

In a pre-departure statement, PM Modi said, “At the SCO Summit, I look forward to exchanging views on topical, regional and international issues, the expansion of SCO and further deepening of multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation within the Organisation,” adding “Under the Uzbek chairship, a number of decisions for mutual cooperation are likely to be adopted in areas of trade, economy, culture and tourism.” 

Prime Minister Modi said that he was also looking forward to meeting Uzbek President Mirziyoyev, adding “I fondly recall his visit to India in 2018. He also graced the Vibrant Gujarat Summit as Guest of Honour in 2019. In addition, I will hold bilateral meetings with some of the other leaders attending the summit.” 

There is no confirmation over his possible bilateral with Chinese President Xi and Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif, amidst a chill in the bilateral ties with both countries. 

When asked if Modi and Xi will have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters in New Delhi, “We will keep you fully apprised when the Prime Minister’s schedule of bilateral meetings unfolds.” Kwatra also said the Prime Minister’s participation in the summit was a reflection of the importance that India attaches to the SCO and its goals.

Notably, the SCO summit in Samarkand will have two sessions — one restricted session which is only meant for the SCO member states and then there will be an extended session that is likely to see the participation of the observers and the special invitees of the chair country.

Launched in Shanghai in June 2001, the SCO has eight full members, including its six founding members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.

The SCO is holding its first in-person summit in Samarkand in Uzbekistan after two years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which prevented such high-level gatherings. The summit of the eight-nation influential grouping is taking place amid the growing geo-political turmoil largely triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s aggressive military posturing in the Taiwan Strait.

(With PTI Inputs)

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