Modi reaches Qingdao on two-day visit to attend SCO summit
PM Narendra Modi arrived in Qingdao today on a two-day visit to attend the annual summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is likely to deliberate on global issues including the impact of US sanctions on Russia. It is for the first time the Indian PM will be attending the SCO summit after India along with Pakistan became a full-fledged member of the grouping.
The SCO currently has eight member countries which represent around 42% of the world's population and 20% of the global GDP. Other leaders attending the summit include President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain. The summit is also likely to explore ways to deepen cooperation in dealing with threats of terrorism, extremism, and radicalization.
The summit is taking place under the shadow of Washington's pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, its sanctions on Russia under CAATSA, and frictions with China over trade tariff. The Indo-Pacific situation may figure in the talks but is unlikely to find a mention in the outcome document. The leaders are also expected to review the situation in the Korean peninsula, Afghanistan, and Syria.
PM Modi, in his address at the SCO, is likely to articulate India's position on dealing with major challenges facing the world. Officials said India will pitch for evolving effective ways to deal with terrorism and enhancing security cooperation among SCO countries. India is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with security and defense.
India is also likely to focus on the importance of regional connectivity projects to boost trade among SCO member countries. India has been strongly pushing for connectivity projects like the Chabahar port project and International North-South Transport Corridor to gain access to resource-rich central Asian countries. Modi is expected to hold nearly half a dozen bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became the members of SCO last year.