Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for a two-day visit to China to attend the annual meeting of the Council of Heads of States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
This is the first time that India would be participating as a full member at the SCO Summit which is going to be held in Qindao, China. The India delegation departed from India at 7 am Saturday morning and arrived at Qindao around 3:30 pm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a statement before departing for China stressed upon the fact that this is a ‘new beginning for India.
“I believe that the Qingdao Summit will further enrich the SCO agenda, while heralding a new beginning for India’s engagement with the SCO,” he said.
“Excited to lead the Indian delegation for the grouping’s first-ever meeting with the country as a full member,” Prime Minister Modi in his statement said.
The SCO has a rich agenda for cooperation, ranging from fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism to promoting cooperation in connectivity, commerce, customs, law, health and agriculture; protecting the environment and mitigating disaster risk; and fostering people-to-people relations
In the last one year since India became a full member of the SCO, our interaction with the Organization and its member States has grown considerably in these areas.
An official told that the focus for India is to participate in all the processes and mechanisms of the SCO where in the past they sat as mere observers. Ministry of External Spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar, in his weekly briefing on Thursday said that India will participate in restricted and summit level meetings.
The four pillars of the SCO Summit are: political, security (terrorism), economic, cultural. India will also give a big push to connectivity.
On June 9, Prime Narendra Modi will call on Rashid Alimov, Secretary General of the SCO, upon his arrival. Thereafter, he will hold bilateral meetings with Xi Jingping, President of the Peoples Republic of China; Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikstan.
He will also attend the banquet dinner which will be hosted by President Xi Jinping. This will be Modi’s first meeting with Xi after their informal visit that took place in Wuhan, China in April.
PM Modi in his statement said, India enjoys deep friendship and multi-dimensional ties with the Member States of the SCO. On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, I will have the opportunity of meeting and sharing views with several other leaders, including the Heads of States of many SCO Member States.
Sources say there is no bilateral meeting likely between India and Pakistan since there is a caretaker government in Pakistan as the country goes to polls in July. The SCO Summit will be represented by Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain.
There will be a huge thrust on the issue of terrorism. MEA Spokerson on Thursday said, This platform is also used to discuss how to fight terrorism and also explained why India participated at a recent SCO meeting in Pakistan which was under the Regional Anti-terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO.
“We had sent a technical team to participate in that meeting. It is our obligation and our responsibility to participate in multilateral meetings wherever it is held and that is how we participated in this SCO RATS meeting in Pakistan,” he said.
Founded in 2001, the SCO currently comprises eight member states, India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted to the SCO last year.