Chinese President Xi Jingping today extended his good wishes to India on taking over the chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, adding that Beijing will support New Delhi in organising the summit next year.
The regional summit in Uzbekistan's historic city of Samarkand saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jingping coming face-to-face for the first time today since the start of the military standoff in Ladakh in 2020.
Although there has been speculation of possible bilaeral meeting between PM Modi and Chinese President, the government has neither confirmed nor denied it. "We will keep you fully apprised when the PM's schedule of bilateral meetings unfolds," Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said when asked about the meeting. China has also not confirmed a meeting between the two leaders.
The Foreign Ministry has confirmed a one-on-one between PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which they are expected to talk about overall trade as well as sales of Russian fertilisers and mutual food supplies. PM Modi will also hold talks with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
PM Modi, who was one of the last leaders to arrive in Samarkand, formally began his participation in the regional summit today starting with a group photo with Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and leaders of the other member states of the influential grouping.
Addressing the world leaders, PM Modi spoke on the need for better connectivity in the regional grouping to tide over the shortage of food and energy crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
"The SCO needs to focus on bringing diversified and resilient supply chains...for this, better connectivity and access to transit is required," PM Modi said, adding that India supports mutual trust and cooperation among SCO countries.
The PM said the innovative use of technology is being focused on in our people-centric development model, and India is ready to collaborate with SCO nations.
"We are working towards transforming India into a manufacturing hub...We are supporting innovation in every sector. Today there are more than 70,000 start-ups and over 100 unicorns in our country," he said.
India will host the summit in 2023, which would initiate the process of Iran becoming a full member of the eight-nation influential grouping.
Launched in Shanghai in June 2001, the SCO has eight full members, including its six founding members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.