Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that India was grateful for China’s support in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation membership. “Got the opportunity to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping again during SCO summit, grateful to you for your efforts and support for India’s SCO membership,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
This is their first meeting after India skipped Beijing’s ambitious the Belt and Road summit in May as a mark of protest against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor which will go through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The 17th SCO summit holds special significance as India and Pakistan have been formally inducted as SCO members. India has had an observer status in SCO for more than 10 years. It will be interesting to look out for India’s future stance on OBOR as all SCO members have, in principle, agreed to the OBOR concept. “We are not part of the discussions before the entry, so we cannot provide any input into the Astana Declaration, nor put a veto on any element,” an Indian government source told The Indian Express.
Leaders of six-member countries, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will take part in the summit and discuss several issues including peace and security in the region. With India and Pakistan’s entry to SCO, the group is all set to become one of the biggest regional organisations covering South Asia as well.
China is likely to push the OBOR proposal aggressively. Daniyar Kosnazarov, analyst on SCO at the Narxoz University in Almaty, told The Indian Express: “President Xi will try to get support for the OBOR before the Chinese Communist Party Congress in September this year, so the SCO will be a platform for him to push that agenda.”