Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Uzbekistan on Thursday on a 24-hour visit to Samarkand for the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
“Prime Minister is there for the SCO Summit for a brief period; he reaches there later tonight, attends the restricted and extended sessions and a couple of other engagements tomorrow, along with a set of bilateral meetings. He’s then scheduled to return tomorrow night,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said today.
The Foreign Secretary said that India expects the discussions of the SCO Summit to cover topical, regional and international issues, reform and expansion of SCO, the security situation in the region, cooperation in the region, including strengthening connectivity and boosting trade in the region.
“Prime Minister will hold bilateral meetings with the President of Uzbekistan and some other leaders on the sidelines of the SCO Summit. PM’s participation in the Summit is a reflection of the importance that India attaches to the SCO and its cause,” he mentioned.
The Summit usually has two sessions – restricted which is only for the SCO member states, and then an extended session which includes participation by observers and special invitees.
“I also look forward to meeting President Mirziyoyev in Samarkand. I fondly recall his visit to India in 2018. He also graced the Vibrant Gujarat Summit as its Guest of Honour in 2019. In addition, I will hold bilateral meetings with some of the other Leaders attending the Summit,” said PM Modi in his departure statement ahead of his visit.
PM @narendramodi emplanes for Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
He will participate in the SCO Summit as well as hold meetings with several world leaders. pic.twitter.com/XQ7XfioLk4
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 15, 2022
Besides PM Modi, the Summit is being attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping along with other leaders from a total of 15 heads of state and the heads of 10 international organisations.
The entire world is glued to this historic summit as leaders will discuss the bilateral, regional and global issues in a first in-person SCO Summit since the start of the Covid pandemic amid serious shifts both in geopolitics and geoeconomics due to ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, security situation in Afghanistan and disruption in supply chains due to Covid-19.
In this backdrop, India’s participation is of paramount importance as it has maintained a balanced approach – well appreciated by the world leaders amid the geo-political tumult affecting the region.
This will also be a highly significant moment for India in the global arena as it will take over the rotational SCO presidency for the first time. The SCO region has historically been an extended neighbourhood to India with central Asian countries at its core.
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, during India’s SCO Presidency from September 2022 to September 2023, Varanasi will be the first city in the SCO region to be granted the rotating title of ‘Cultural & Tourism capital of SCO’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed many initiatives in the realm of culture for SCO including SCO Food Festival, SCO Film Festival.
Also Read: Varanasi set to become cultural and tourism capital of SCO