New Delhi, June 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday left for Qingdao, China, to participate in the 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit as a full member of the bloc, along with Pakistan.
Modi will also hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday on the sidelines of the summit and will discuss ways to implement Wuhan decisions.
It comes over a month after their informal summit on April 27-28 in Wuhan on a Chinese invitation, when they pledged to keep the India-China border quiet and personally guide their respective armies to avert a Doklam-like military stand-off in future.
He will also attend the banquet dinner which will be hosted by President Xi Jinping.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed upon the fact that this is a ‘new beginning for India.
“I believe that the Qingdao Summit will further enrich the SCO agenda, while heralding a new beginning for India’s engagement with the SCO,” he said.
“Excited to lead the Indian delegation for the grouping’s first-ever meeting with the country as a full member,” Prime Minister Modi in his statement said.
The agenda of SCO is to extend cooperation, ranging from fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism to promoting cooperation in connectivity, commerce, customs, law, health and agriculture; protecting the environment and mitigating disaster risk; and fostering people-to-people relations.
The four pillars of the SCO Summit are: political, security (terrorism), economic, cultural. India will also give a big push to connectivity.
On June 9, Prime Narendra Modi will call on Rashid Alimov, Secretary General of the SCO, upon his arrival. Thereafter, he will hold bilateral meetings with Xi Jingping, President of the Peoples Republic of China; Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikstan.
Modi is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO member states on the sidelines of the Summit.
The SCO is an Eurasian inter-governmental organisation, the creation of which was announced in 2001 in Shanghai by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
“SCO focusses on political, economic, security and cultural cooperation and enables India to engage with Central Asian countries,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted as Modi departed.
On Friday, Modi said that the SCO meeting will herald a new beginning for India’s engagement with the Eurasian bloc.