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Annual SCO summit to be held under chairmanship of Russia

Apart from the members Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, four Observer States — Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia — will also participate in the summit. File Photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

The annual Heads of State-level meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will be held under the chairmanship of Russia on Tuesday. The virtual meeting is being held in the backdrop of major regional and global developments.

The SCO Summit of Heads of State is the main unit of the organisation that sets the agenda and gives political, security, trade, economic and cultural directions to the 8-member body. Apart from the members Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, four Observer States — Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia — will also participate in the summit.

According to sources, the summit is expected to adopt the Moscow Declaration under the Chairmanship of the Russian Federation. It has been learnt that there will also be statements on issues like the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the 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 decisions on major projects and initiatives in trade and economic sphere,” a source said.

The escalating violence in Afghanistan in the backdrop of the peace negotiations is also scheduled to feature among the discussions.

The summit is crucial as it provides the Chinese and the Indian leaderships an opportunity to exchange thoughts on regional and global issues even as the border tension in Eastern Ladakh continues. It gives the member countries a platform to discuss the emerging direction of the global order in view of the victory of Joe Biden. Significantly, while India and Pakistan have expressed desire to work with the Biden administration, Moscow and Beijing have not yet declared anything.

It is expected that the Joe Biden-led U.S. will take tough stance regarding issues that are relevant to Russia and China. Under the Russian chairmanship, the SCO has moved smoothly this year. India participated in a series of preparatory meetings. The NSA-level meeting under the SCO in September had hit the headlines when the Pakistani delegation had used a new political map which had violated India’s territorial sovereignty. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had left the meeting in protest. Delhi however expressed appreciation for Russian efforts to resolve the situation.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 8:58:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/annual-sco-summit-to-be-held-under-chairmanship-of-russia/article33061166.ece

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