17th summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – SCO is beginning in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan today. India is set to join as full member in the SCO comprising six Central Asian Republics, namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Astana to take part in the SCO summit. He will take part in the summit deliberations on matters related to peace and security in the Central Asia region and world at large.
The Prime Minister will also discuss with the member countries about increasing cooperation in various fields for mutual benefit. Mr Modi will also hold bilateral talks with some of the heads of SCO member countries on the sidelines of the summit . Though bilateral meeting between Mr Modi and his Pakistan counterpart is not on the cards so far, the Prime Minister is likely to meet Chinese President XI Jinping. In addition, he will take part in the inaugural ceremony of world exposition christened ‘Asta Expo’ and also attend a concert at Astana Opera this evening.
SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov said, a major issue on the summit agenda will be the accession of India and Pakistan as full members. He said, with India and Pakistan induction, the SCO will represent 44 per cent of the global population. He said, the summit will discuss the internal security in the light of recent developments in the region and elsewhere in the world and outline current aspects of strengthening multifaceted cooperation within the SCO. Stating that one of the Organisation’s driving forces is trade and commerce, the Secretary General said that the investment by member countries in joint projects was over 40 billion US dollars last year.
India which has been serving as Observor in the SCO is looking forward to strengthen its ties with central Asian countries through its induction into the group.