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India gearing up to host SCO Summit on July 4 in outreach to Eurasia

PM Narendra Modi attends the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022 (File image courtesy: PIB)

India will host the 8-nation summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on July 4.

The summit will take place in New Delhi, highly placed sources told India Narrative. The SCO comprises India, China, Russia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, covering most of Eurasia. Iran will become the ninth member of the grouping from April this year.

The SCO member countries represent around 42% of the world population and 25% of the global GDP.

Nevertheless, the member states have differed on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with India being at the forefront of objecting to Beijing’s pan-Eurasian initiative, citing issues of sovereignty. New Delhi has strongly opposed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Gilgit-Baltistan—a part of undivided Kashmir, which had acceded to India in 1947—but was militarily annexed by Pakistan.

Nevertheless, the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), a permanent body based in Uzbekistan, has been functioning fairly smoothly. RATS has been found useful in building counter-terrorism capacity of the SCO member states.

It also holds annual Joint Anti-Terrorist Exercises since 2006 to help member countries remaining safe from acts of terrorism. By the month end, India will host a meeting of the National Security Advisors of the grouping, where the big-picture of regional terrorism is expected to be discussed.

The organisation has also sharpened its focus on developing tourism, leveraging the grouping’s civilizational strengths. Currently, India is hosting the SCO Tourism Ministers’ Meeting (TMM) at Kashi (Varanasi), which has been designated as the first cultural capital of the SCO.

The two-day meeting is expected to yield a Tourism Joint Action Plan for member countries. It is expected to focus on branding SCO tourism, promotion of the cultural heritage of the SCO member states, information exchange using digital technology as well as medical and health tourism. During 2022 Samarkand SCO summit Prime Minister Narendra Modi had encouraged the SCO on the use and development of traditional medicine as well as building diversified and resilient supply chains.

Ahead of the summit the SCO foreign ministers will meet in Goa on May 4-5.

Also Read: How Modi’s “middle path” at the SCO summit advanced India’s core interests