On September 15 and 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. This will be the first in-person summit since the SCO summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in June 2019. According to the current travel schedule, the Prime Minister is expected to arrive in Samarkand on September 14 and return on September 16.

The presence of India at the summit is significant because it will take over the rotating chairmanship of the SCO at the end of the Samarkand summit. Delhi will preside over the grouping for a year, till September 2023. As a result, India will host the SCO summit next year, which will be attended by leaders from China, Russia, and Pakistan, among others.

The Prime Minister’s journey to Samarkand will be widely followed for potential bilateral discussions on the fringes of the summit. Among the leaders likely to attend the conference are Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. While no formal information on the bilateral meetings has been released, the leaders are anticipated to be in the same room for the summit as well as the leaders’ lounge.

Modi-Xi meet

The last time Modi and Xi met in person and had a bilateral meeting was in November 2019 during the BRICS summit in Brazil. Following the armed standoff between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since May 2020, relations between the two countries have suffered a hit. The pullout of Indian and Chinese forces at one of the last remaining flashpoints, Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs region, has created an opening for the two sides to engage at the highest level.

However, much will be determined by how smoothly the disengagement procedure is done. It began on Thursday and is slated to end on Monday (September 12). According to sources, the Prime Minister may meet with Putin and Raisi. According to sources, the conference would likely focus on the geopolitical situation resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its consequences.

Furthermore, because many SCO member nations are Afghanistan’s neighbors, the situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban administration will be discussed.

Modi to meet Uzbekistan President

According to officials, a meeting between Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the Prime Minister is almost certain. Preparations for the SCO summit have been underway in Samarkand, 300 kilometers from Tashkent, for the past six months. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization created in June 2001 in Shanghai.

It now has eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), four Observer States (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia), and six Dialogue Partners (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey).

In 2021, a decision was made to begin the process of Iran’s full membership in the SCO, and Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia became dialogue partners. Since its inception in 2001, the SCO has primarily focused on regional security issues, including the fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism, and religious extremism. Regional development is also one of the SCO’s focuses.

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