Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev upon arriving in Astana where he will attend the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. The two leaders discussed ways to expand bilateral ties.
The PM is also scheduled to attend the inauguration of the Astana Expo on June 9 which is themed on’Future Energy’ this year.
Before leaving for Astana, PM wrote on Facebook, “At this meeting, on completion of the process, India will become a full Member of the SCO upon which SCO will represent over 40 per cent of humanity and nearly 20 per cent of global GDP. We launched the process of full membership in Tashkent meeting of the SCO last year. I look forward to deepening India’s association with the SCO which will help us in economic, connectivity and counter-terrorism cooperation, among other things.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also scheduled to attend the summit. Modi and Sharif are expected to attend a banquet hosted by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. It is unclear whether the two leaders will hold talks with each other especially in the shadow of deteriorating relations between the two countries.
The SCO summit is special for India as it would be formally admitted into the China dominated six-nation grouping along with Pakistan. The two South-Asian neighbours India and Pakistan are going to be the seventh and eighth members of the SCO after China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Modi is also scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of this summit amid growing differences between the two countries over a host of issues including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and NSG.