PM Modi's first multilateral engagement to coincide with SCO Summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, Hubei province, China April 27, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 10, 2019, 11.07 PM (IST) Sidhant Sibal

Counter-terrorism, Afghanistan and ties with central Asian countries will be the top focus of India at the Shanghai cooperation organisation  (SCO) Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan between June 13 and 14. PM Modi will be in Bishkek for the summit, which will be his first international multilateral engagement in his second term.

Gitesh Sharma, Secretary (West), MEA, while briefing the media on PM's participation at the summit said,"if you look at the record of previous SCO interactions..terrorism does figure in the deliberations...on contact group of Afghanistan countries of the region are challenged by the situation there and have deep interest in stability of Afghanistan as well"

On central Asia, he said, "The way we approach SCO is that it provides as a framework where we can engage with the central Asian countries in particular. We have robust relations with each one of them." 

This is Modi's first bilateral visit to Kyrgyzstan and Modi will be meeting his Kyrgyz counterpart. President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov as SCO chair was invited for the oath-taking ceremony of PM Modi in May.

Modi will also hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This will be his first meeting with Chinese leadership after the listing of Masood Azhar as an international terrorist by the United Nations. 

Sharma said,"We have excellent relations with Russia and China"

MEA meanwhile clarified that there will be no formal bilateral meet between PM Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Both leaders will be face to face for the first time in their present capacity. 

India became full member of SCO in 2017 and this is the second head of states/government meet in which New Delhi is participating. Prime Minister Modi had also attended the last meet in Qingdao , China in June 2018.

SCO represents approximately 42 per cent of the world's population, 22 per cent of world's land area and 20 per cent of global GDP and has 8 members--India, Pakistan, Russia, China and four central asian countries -- Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.