According to the current travel schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to arrive in Samarkand on September 14 and depart on September 16.
The Sunday Express has learned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15 and 16 for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
This will be the first in-person summit following the SCO summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in June 2019.
According to the current travel schedule, the Prime Minister will arrive in Samarkand on September 14 and return on September 16.
The presence of India at the summit is important because it will take over the SCO’s rotating presidency at the end of the Samarkand summit. Delhi will preside over the organization for a year until September 2023. So, 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 travel to Samarkand will be watched closely for the possibility of bilateral meetings on the summit’s sidelines.
The leaders expected to attend are Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
While no official word on the scheduled bilateral meetings has been released, the leaders are expected to be in the same room for the summit and the leaders’ lounge.
The last time Modi and Xi met in person was in November 2019 during the BRICS summit in Brazil. Following the military standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since May 2020, bilateral relations have suffered a setback.
The disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops at one of the last remaining points of contention, Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs region, has created an opening for the two sides to capture at the biggest level.
However, how smoothly the disengagement process is completed will be crucial. It began on Thursday and is set to end on Monday (September 12).
According to sources, meetings between the Prime Minister, Putin, and Raisi are possible.
The summit will bring Modi and Xi together for the first time since their clash in Ladakh. However, whether a bilateral meeting will take place on the sidelines is unknown. Much will also be determined by the successful completion of the disengagement operation currently underway in the Gogra-Hot Springs region.
There has been no official overrun between India and Pakistan for a bilateral meeting between Sharif and Modi as of Saturday night.
According to sources, the meeting will likely discuss the geopolitical situation resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its consequences. Furthermore, the situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime will be discussed, as many SCO member countries border Afghanistan.
According to officials, a meeting between Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the Prime Minister is unavoidable. The SCO summit has been planned for the last six months in Samarkand, 300 kilometers from Tashkent.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization that was established in June 2001 in Shanghai. It currently has eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), four Observer States (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) interested in gaining full membership, and six group partners (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey).
In 2021, it was decided to begin admitting Iran as a full member of the SCO, and Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia became groups.
Since its formation in 2001, the SCO has primarily addressed regional security issues, including the fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism, and religious extremism. Regional development is also one of the SCO’s top priorities.
Why is the upcoming SCO Summit in Samarkand so crucial?
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit will be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15-16. The leaders of the SCO countries will meet face-to-face for the first time in three years at the upcoming event, providing a unique and compelling opportunity to discuss bilateral, regional, and global issues that have accumulated since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
The significance of the Samarkand summit has grown exponentially in the context of significant shifts in international politics and economics. As a result, several critical decisions and agreements are expected to be made in Samarkand, most of which will determine the organization’s future development.
The global community must understand that the SCO is not a bloc. It is an organization that promotes multifaceted cooperation and has no geopolitical goals or agendas against any country. These principles are explicitly told in the charter. The organization’s history demonstrates that each member is required to follow these stringent rules under the banner of the SCO.
The summit in Samarkand will be attended by fifteen heads of state and the leaders of ten international organizations collaborating with the SCO. Given the organization’s status and formation, this summit will confirm Uzbekistan’s growing geopolitical and economic influence and the central role that its president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, continues to play as a prominent politician on the global stage.
Uzbekistan has presided over the SCO for the past year, and its activities have reflected Tashkent’s new foreign policy initiatives. These include pragmatism, dynamism, and initiative, which have all become Uzbekistan’s diplomatic calling cards in recent years. Moreover, because of the country’s independent and multifaceted foreign policy, it has been possible to balance the interests of the SCO’s middle-sized and small countries.
According to international affairs experts, this gives Tashkent a distinct advantage within the organization, namely the trust of all SCO member countries, allowing it to confidently promote major regional and global initiatives through this platform.
Uzbekistan’s conceptual approach to which path the SCO should take in this new era of global politics can be seen in the Uzbek government’s priorities – trade, industrial and technological cooperation, transportation, transformation and many more.
Uzbekistan has asked its fellow SCO members to reconsider the value of multilateral cooperation in the face of ongoing geopolitical and economic turmoil. Due to this, at the Samarkand SCO summit, President Mirziyoyev is expected to present several ground-breaking initiatives and proposals aimed at revitalizing the SCO’s agenda and modernizing the organization as a whole.
These new steps come at a time when there is growing interest in the SCO’s future potential. What is undeniable is that the SCO’s heart is in Central Asian countries, as the organization was founded to develop a new format of cooperation in this strategic region of nearly 80 million people. Moreover, the SCO’s positive contribution to Central Asian stability, security, and the establishment of multilateral cooperation are undeniable.
Due to the organization’s expanding membership and the shifting internal and external realities, it is currently entering a crucial transformational stage. At the Samarkand summit, Iran is expected to sign a Memorandum of Obligations that will open the door for direct SCO membership. Additionally, memoranda granting Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia dialogue partner status will be signed. It is also anticipated that Bahrain and the Maldives will get their requests for partner status approved.
On the other hand, Central Asia will remain the SCO’s nucleus, serving as the organization’s expanding space. As a result, the SCO has a vested interest in bolstering the positive and irreversible processes currently underway in Central Asia. This is more important than any other factor in the organization’s overall success.
A number of critical choices will be made as part of the summit. Thirty coordinated documents have already been prepared to strengthen the SCO’s multifaceted interaction and bring its internal cooperation to a whole new level. Concurrently, the organizers have stated that this list will be expanded.
The Samarkand Declaration, which will be issued at the summit’s conclusion and reflect all of the SCO countries’ common agreements, will address how the organization intends to solve regional and global problems through a process that identifies specific priorities further the SCO’s development.