Tuesday 11 June 2019 1:42 AM UTC
NEW DELHI June 11: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to pitch for strong and decisive action to deal with terrorism when he addresses a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Bishkek on June 14.
PM Modi, who will be on a two-day visit to the Kyrgyz capital from June 13, will also hold a series of important bilateral meetings, including with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry A Gitesh Sarma said.
This will be PM Modi’s first participation at a multilateral forum after coming back to power following huge mandate in the Lok Sabha polls last month.
The SCO, considered a powerful grouping, represents around 42 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of the global GDP. PM Modi is expected to pitch for strong and decisive action to deal with terrorism, an official said.
While briefing reporters on PM Modi’s visit to Bishkek, Mr Sarma said India will flag concerns about terrorism but unlikely to talk about any specific country when asked whether the prime minister will raise Pakistan’s support to terror groups.
He is also expected to emphasise on the need for enhancing connectivity among the members of the grouping to boost overall growth.
Asked whether PM Modi will have a meeting with and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the summit, ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said no such meeting has been arranged between the two leaders.
The ministry officials also parried a question whether Pakistan has responded to India’s request to let PM Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace while travelling to Bishkek, and merely said that it was not proper for them to discuss the Prime Minister’s flight details.
Mr Sarma said dealing with the growing challenge of terrorism, enhancing security and defence cooperation among SCO countries and boosting connectivity in the region are expected to be key focus areas of the summit.
He said India is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence. It will also take part in a military exercise of the bloc which will include other member-states, including Pakistan.
The official said there may be discussions on situation in Afghanistan at the summit.
“The leaders participating in the summit are expected to focus their discussions on the global security situation, multilateral economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges and also on topical issues of international and regional importance,” Mr Sarma said.
Besides Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, PM Modi may have other bilateral engagements as a number of requests are being processed by the government, he added.
There will be a bilateral segment to PM Modi’s visit to Bishkek as he will hold wide-ranging talks with Kyrgyz leadership on ways to further deepen overall ties in diverse sectors.
Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov had attended PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony last month.
India was an observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.
India has been strongly pushing for connectivity projects like the Chabahar port project and International North-South Transport Corridor to gain access to resource-rich central Asian countries.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became full members of the China-dominated grouping in 2017.
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