Besides India, heads of states of Russia, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will be present at the meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tomorrow lead India at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s heads of state-level meeting to be held in a virtual format.

To be chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, this will be the first SCO summit which will be held in a virtual format and the group’s third summit where India will participate as a full member.

Besides India, heads of states of the rest seven member states-Russia, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will be present at the meet where each member state, as per sources, will be given 10 minutes to speak.

Apart from the 8 member states, the heads of state of 4 observer states of SCO – Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia will also participate. The Secretary General of SCO and the Executive Director of the SCO Regional Anti-terrorist Structure (SCO RATS) will also make their interventions.

The SCO summit of heads of state is the main body of the organization that sets forth the Agenda and the main directions for the organization for the next year. It deals with all the main areas of the activity of the organization including political, security, trade, economic and cultural.

Every annual meeting of SCO heads of state ends with a summit declaration which contains the joint position of member states on issues of global and regional significance.

This year, sources said, the summit will end with the adoption of the ‘Moscow Declaration’ under the Chairmanship of the Russian Federation.

Apart from the Moscow Declaration, there will be SCO Statements on issues like the During the meeting, discussion will be held on commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of World War II, digital economy, COVID-19, countering the spread of terrorism Including on the internet and countering the drug threat.

There will also be other decisions relating to major projects and initiatives in trade and economic sphere of activities. The report of the activities of the SCO Secretariat and the SCO RATS will also be adopted.

Prime Minister Modi will lead the Indian delegation to this annual SCO council of heads of state since India became a full member in the historic 2017 Astana Summit.

However, India’s association with the organization dates back to 2005 when the country became an observer state of SCO. Since then, India has played a positive and constructive role in all areas of SCO activity with a special emphasis on cooperation in trade and economy and in the cultural spheres.

In the previous Summit held in Bishkek in 2019, Prime Minister Modi had given his vision for the SCO with the acronym HEALTH, H for health care cooperation, E for economic cooperation, A for alternative energy, L for literature and culture, T for terrorism free society and H for humanitarian cooperation. We have since pursued his vision within the various activities of SCO.

During the course of Russia’s Chairmanship of the SCO council of heads of state in 2020, India had actively participated in all physical and virtual meetings that were hosted by the Russian side.

This includes ministerial-level meetings in the virtual format such as a special meeting of SCO Foreign Ministers on COVID situation, meeting of National Security Advisors of SCO member states, meeting of Agriculture Ministers, meeting of Health Ministers, meeting of Culture Ministers and meeting of Transport Ministers.

India has also participated in two physical meetings of the SCO Defence Ministers and Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow in September. India participated in all expert-level meetings hosted by the Russian Chair during the course of the year.

India appreciates the efforts of the Russian side for holding extensive meetings in the virtual format and giving a new momentum to the ongoing cooperation within SCO, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.