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PM’s Central Asia trip to give impetus to trade, energy security

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Modi is also expected to meet leaders of 12 nations at BRICS outreach session

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-nation tour of Central Asia beginning July 6 is expected to cover a gamut of issues from increasing trade and investment to counter-terrorism mechanisms, from improved surface connectivity to energy security.

Mr. Modi will also attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting and the BRICS summit in Ufa, Russia, on June 9 and 10, but there is no word yet on whether he will hold sideline meetings with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jingping, who will also be present.

On Friday, Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said the schedule of the sideline bilateral meetings at the SCO and BRICS was yet to be finalised. India is expected to raise the issue of bail to 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi with Pakistan. It is also expected to bring up China’s decision to block India’s bid to seek action against Pakistan at the U.N.

At the SCO, India, which has been an observer since 2005, is expected to get permanent membership of the six-nation grouping of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. India had applied for membership in 2014 and has participated at the ministerial-level at summits of the grouping.

“SCO Foreign Ministers met in June in Moscow, and they had a positive recommendation regarding India’s membership to the summit,” Navtej Sarna, secretary (West) in the MEA, said on India’s chances of being announced a member alongside Pakistan and Iran.

Mr. Modi is also expected to meet the leaders of 12 nations at the BRICS outreach session, being hosted by Russia, which will include all SCO members and observers, members of the Eurasian Economic Union, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, said Sujata Mehta, secretary (M&ER).

Mr. Modi’s five-nation tour will begin with his visit to Uzbekistan on July 6. He will travel to Kazakhstan on July 7 and 8 and thereafter he will be in Ufa for BRICS. He will travel to Turkmenistan from July 10 to 11, Kyrgyzstan from July 11 to 12 and Tajikistan from July 12 to 13.

Mr. Modi is expected hold restricted meetings with the leadership of these five nations. Signing of bilateral agreements is also on the cards.

“In Turkmenistan, the Prime Minister will inaugurate the Centre for traditional medicine and yoga. In Uzbekistan, he will have a meeting with Indologists; in Kazakhstan he would address a University and inaugurate the India-Kazakhstan centre for excellence for ICT, where Param super computer is stationed. In Kyrgyzstan, he will inaugurate an e-health link, a virtual link between one of the hospitals in Bishkek and a hospital in India, and in Tajikistan he will have a detailed interaction with the President,” Mr. Sarna said.

On whether the Greece economic crisis would be on the agenda at BRICS, Ms. Mehta said the members hope that the fragile balance of global economy is not disrupted by the ongoing crisis and whatever is the economic developments [in Greece], there won't be any ramification beyond Europe.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:56:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/prime-minister-modis-central-asia-trip-to-give-impetus-to-trade-energy-security/article7383887.ece

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