PM Modi Leaves For Shanghai Summit, Won't Use Pak Airspace: 10 Points

PM Modi is expected to have bilateral meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit.

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The SCO meet will be PM Modi's first international summit after re-election. (File)

New Delhi:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning left for the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO summit, which is being held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The summit will be keenly watched for any interaction between PM Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, who are expected to come face to face for the first time. The foreign ministry has ruled out any bilateral meet - New Delhi's views on talks and terror not going hand in hand has gained strength after terror attack in Pulwama. On Wednesday evening, after the ministry said PM Modi won't fly over Pakistan on his way to Bishkek -- a move seen as a snub -- Islamabad said its airspace was open for the VVIP flight. Pakistan had closed its airspace in February after the Balakot air strikes.
Here is your 10-point cheat sheet to the SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan
  1. Ahead of the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the summit is expected to discuss the "global security situation, multilateral economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges and topical issues of international and regional importance".
  2. The SCO meet will be PM Modi's first international summit after re-election and PM Modi is expected to have bilateral meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit.  
  3. Foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said last week that no bilateral meeting has been arranged between PM Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, who will also attend the SCO meet.
  4. India has said cross-border terror must stop and Pakistan must take action against terror groups operating from its soil before dialogues can begin.
  5. Pakistan closed its airspace to India on February 26 after IAF bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp at Balakot.  Today, news agency PTI quoted Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan as saying that they are still willing to open Pakistani airspace for PM Modi's flight as a "goodwill gesture".
  6. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is an eight-member group led by China that cooperates chiefly on trade and security. "We attach special importance to SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interaction in the region," PM Modi said.
  7. China has said the summit this time will discuss economy-related issues and security cooperation with a focus on counter terrorism, but will not "target" any country.
  8. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said this year's summit could also discuss issues like multilateralism and protectionism in the context of US trade tensions, which has surfaced with several nations including China and India.
  9. The founding members of the SCO include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted to the Beijing-based regional security grouping in 2017.
  10. After the conclusion of summit, PM Modi will be on an official bilateral visit to the Kyrgyz Republic. "Apart from our discussions on the entire range of bilateral cooperation, President Jeenbekov and I will jointly address the first meeting of India-Kyrgyz Business Forum," PM Modi said.
     


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