Modi,Xi may meet on margins of SCO summit next month
21 August, 2022 | Pranay Lad
The focus is on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would travel to Uzbekistan for a meeting amid geopolitical uncertainty after Xi Jinping’s office indicated that the Chinese president will...
The focus is on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would travel to Uzbekistan for a meeting amid geopolitical uncertainty after Xi Jinping’s office indicated that the Chinese president will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference in Samarkand next month.
In preparation for a potential Modi visit to the CSO summit on September 15–16, preparation teams have been to the Central Asian nation. However, it has been heard that a political decision regarding the visit would be made when it is right.
If he attends, Modi will have the chance to meet with both Shahbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, and the president of China. If Modi is in Samarkand, a meeting with Vladimir Putin cannot be ruled out either. They have four phone calls together so far this year and have a great rapport.
In spite of numerous rounds of negotiations, Sino-Indian relations are tepid due to Beijing’s refusal to complete the LAC in the Ladakh zone. Interestingly, before of the meeting, an Indian Army force will participate in the Russian-hosted “Vostok” military exercise alongside China and other nations.
If it happens, the visit will take place as India assumes the SCO Presidency in 2023 and hosts the summit in this location.
Along with ensuring the security of food and energy, India’s priorities for the summit include combating terrorism and extremism, ensuring Afghan peace, and constructing inclusive connectivity corridors (such as the INSTC and Chabahar port).
The host country’s president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as other Central Asian officials may meet Modi when he is there.
Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran, is anticipated to attend the meeting in order to officially welcome Iran as a new SCO member.
S. Jaishankar, the foreign minister, and Vikram Misri, the deputy national security adviser, attended NSA- and foreign minister-level meetings of the SCO before the summit. In the upcoming weeks, the SCO defence ministers meeting is also anticipated to include the defence minister Rajnath Singh.
With the Modi administration having a conference with the presidents of all five Central Asian republics in January, Central Asia in India’s wider neighbourhood has emerged as one of the priorities for outreach. The summit took place in conjunction with Republic Day festivities, however because of the Covid crisis, it was conducted online.
At the first India-Central Asia Summit, the six leaders agreed that terrorism must be thoroughly combated in order to create a “world free of terror,” and they also vowed to strengthen their current defence collaboration and consider hosting joint counterterrorism exercises. The agreement to form a joint working group on Afghanistan at the level of senior officials was one of the summit’s significant outcomes.
The volume of trade between India and Central Asia has expanded, and New Delhi is urging the Central Asian republics to use INSTC and Chabahar port to connect to the Indian Ocean region and the Indian market.
All five Central Asian foreign ministers and national security advisers met separately in India last year (India-Central Asia foreign ministers meet and India-Russia-Central Asia-Iran NSA meet in Afghanistan respectively). India will hold the inaugural India-Central Asia NSA-level dialogue in December. Due to the familiarity with military systems, India aims to cooperate with Russia in Central Asia, notably in the defence sector.
Xi has not left China since January 2020, in contrast to Modi, who has travelled overseas for multiple multilateral and bilateral meetings this year. But amid rising tensions with the US over Taiwan, rumours suggest that Xi may travel to Samarkand for the gathering of the regional security bloc and a one-on-one meeting with Putin.
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