Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join leaders of China, Russia and leading central Asian countries in deliberating ways to contain terrorism and boost trade at the SCO Summit in Astana on Friday in the backdrop of a series of major terror strikes in several countries.
Modi is likely to pitch for a concerted global action plan to contain terrorism at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit which is also being attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani are among the prominent leaders who will participate in the Summit where India and Pakistan will be inducted as full members of the grouping, in its first ever expansion. The Summit is also likely to deliberate on granting full membership to Iran.
It is taking place in the aftermath of a series of terrorist strikes in London, Tehran and Afghanistan. Diplomatic sources said combating terrorism will be discussed at length by the leaders apart from deliberating on boosting trade among member 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, Iran and Pakistan were admitted as observers at the 2005 Astana Summit. The Tashkent SCO Summit in June 2010 had lifted the moratorium on new membership, paving the way for the expansion of the grouping.
India feels as an SCO member, it will be able to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism in the
region. 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.
India has been 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. Russia had been favouring permanent SCO membership for India while China pushed for induction of Pakistan.