Jaishankar to Lead Indian Delegation at SCO Summit in Kazakhstan

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will lead the Indian delegation to the 24th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, scheduled to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on July 4.
Jaishankar to Lead Indian Delegation at SCO Summit in Kazakhstan

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will lead the Indian delegation to the 24th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, scheduled to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on July 4. This announcement follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to skip the summit, as confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday.

India's participation in the nine-member bloc will be guided by Modi's vision of a "SECURE SCO," which emphasizes security, economic cooperation, connectivity, unity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and environmental protection. The summit is expected to chart a course for multilateral cooperation and address key regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, particularly concerning the surge in activities of the Islamic State.

Sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated that discussions at the summit will likely cover a range of topics including economic, digital, and energy connectivity initiatives, as well as trade and regional security matters.

While Modi has opted out of attending in person, there is a possibility that he might address the summit via video. Officials cited his preoccupation with the ongoing parliamentary session, which concludes on July 3, as the primary reason for his absence. Additionally, India's strained relations with China were a contributing factor, as a visit to Astana would have required Modi to face both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif amidst heightened tensions with both nations.

During the summit, Jaishankar is expected to engage in several bilateral meetings, particularly with leaders from Central Asian states. However, there has been no official confirmation regarding any potential interactions with Chinese or Pakistani representatives.

This summit marks India's first presidency of the SCO, and it hosted the previous summit virtually on July 4, 2023. The event is anticipated to further India's strategic interests within the SCO framework and address crucial geopolitical issues affecting the region.

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