SAMARKAND: The 22nd Summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States (SCO-CoHS) is set to commence on Friday in Samarkand, Uzbekistan after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Samarkand on Thursday evening to take part in the SCO Summit. During the summit, the leaders are expected to review the activities of SCO and discuss prospects for future cooperation.
Uzbekistan is the current chair of SCO 2022 and India will assume the rotational annual presidency of the SCO at the end of the Samarkand Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the SCO summit and is likely to have some other bilateral meetings.
This is the first in-person SCO Summit after the Covid pandemic hit the world. The last in-person SCO Heads of State Summit was held in Bishkek in June 2019. The SCO currently comprises eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and six "Dialogue Partners" (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).
The Shanghai Five, formed in 1996, became the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2001 with the inclusion of Uzbekistan. With India and Pakistan entering the grouping in 2017 and the decision to admit Tehran as a full member in 2021, SCO became one of the largest multilateral organisations, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the global GDP and 40 per cent of the world's population. SCO has potential in various new sectors, wherein all the member-states could find converging interests. India has already pushed hard for cooperation in Startups and Innovation, Science and Technology and Traditional Medicine.
India, from the time of its full membership, made sincere efforts to encourage peace, prosperity, and stability of the whole Eurasian region in general and SCO member countries in particular.