Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday left for a two-day visit to Kazakhstan ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit meeting in Astana. “I will travel to Astana, Kazakhstan for two days on 8-9 June for the Summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),” he wrote in a Facebook post. PM Modi is also scheduled to attend the inauguration of the Astana Expo on June 9 which is themed on’Future Energy’ this year.
“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,” PM Modi wrote.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also be attending the event making this a rare occasion when India and Pakistan will conduct joint military exercises along with other SCO countries — China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. These military exercises are conducted by Tashkent-based Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) which both countries are required to follow once they join the SCO. Also read | India should utilise Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, but it must sidestep ambushes by China and Pakistan. Click here
“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,” Modi wrote in his Facebook post.
Following their arrival on Thursday, Modi and Sharif are expected to attend a banquet hosted by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Given their current diplomatic relations, experts and officials will closely watch the two leaders at Summit.
“We have long-standing relations with SCO members and look forward to progressing them further through the SCO for mutual betterment and growth of our countries and our people,” said Modi.