India is hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit virtually. The summit will have Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in attendance. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the meeting of the SCO Heads of State. The main topics for discussion will be terrorism, regional security, and prosperity. India’s chairmanship of SCO-SECURE is based on the acronym coined by PM Modi during the 2018 SCO Qingdao Summit, representing Security, Economic development, Connectivity, Unity, Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Environmental protection.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will also participate in the summit. This comes after the Russia-Ukraine war concluded. India has condemned the war but has not opposed Russia in any international forum. During last year’s SCO summit in Uzbekistan, PM Modi spoke with President Putin and emphasized that warfare is no longer acceptable. This statement was even included in the G20 communique released during India’s presidency. PM Modi also had a telephone discussion with President Putin on June 30, focusing on SCO and G20 cooperation.
The summit has invited all Member States of the SCO, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Observer States such as Iran, Belarus, and Mongolia have also been invited. Turkmenistan has been invited as the guest of the Chair, following SCO’s customary practice. The Heads of the SCO Secretariat and SCO RATS will be present as well.
The participation of Pakistan and China is a key highlight of the summit. Despite Pakistan’s support for terrorists, it will attend the summit. Tensions between India and China have been ongoing since the 2020 Galwan Valley clash, with both sides deploying troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. India has also increased its troop presence and infrastructure development in the region.
PM Modi emphasized the importance of peaceful border areas for normal bilateral relations with China before his visit to the United States. He expressed India’s commitment to respecting sovereignty, territorial integrity, the rule of law, and peaceful dispute resolution in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s participation in the virtual SCO summit is expected to be significant. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will also attend the meeting, invited by PM Modi. The presence of these leaders comes after China vetoed a proposal to designate Sajid Mir of Lashkar-e-Taiba as a global terrorist, which drew strong criticism from India.
India joined SCO as an observer country in 2005 and became a full member in 2017, marking an important milestone in its relationship with the organization.