President Xi Jinping and other leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member countries pose for a group photo before attending the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Sept 16. 2022. (LI TAO / XINHUA)
Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated India on assuming the presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, and stated that China will assist India in hosting the group's 23rd summit next year.
"I congratulate India for hosting the SCO next year," the Chinese president said in a statement during the summit.
Indian city of Varanasi, parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been selected as the first-ever tourism and cultural capital of eight-nation grouping SCO for 2022-23
Among others, Russian President Vladimir Putin also extended his good wishes to India for hosting the 23rd edition of the summit next year.
Indian city of Varanasi, parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been selected as the first-ever tourism and cultural capital of eight-nation grouping SCO for 2022-23. Iran is to become the ninth member of the group.
"The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member countries. It also underlines India’s ancient civilizational links with Member States of SCO, especially the Central Asian Republics," said a statement issued by the Indian Federal Ministry of External Affairs.
On the sidelines of the two-day summit held in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, Modi held separate bilateral meetings with Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the statement said.
Xi and Modi came face to face for the first time since the start of the military standoff in Ladakh in 2020.
The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member countries. It also underlines India’s ancient civilizational links with Member States of SCO, especially the Central Asian Republics.
Indian Federal Ministry of External Affairs
"India supports greater cooperation and mutual trust among SCO members," Modi said while speaking at the summit.
Better connectivity is needed in the regional grouping as there was a global food and energy crisis after global supply chains were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Modi emphasized
Modi added that India's economy is expected to grow at 7.5 per cent this year, "which will be highest among world's major economies."
At the summit, Xi also said that the member countries should promote trade and regional economic integration, build mutual trust and maintain regional stability.
"All the meetings that were scheduled and for which the requests came to us were factored in and all the meetings took place as per the schedule," Vinay Kwatra, Indian foreign secretary, told reporters at a briefing on Friday evening.
On Sept 14, a day after India and China completed the disengagement process of troops at a western border area, Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said the process has been completed and said it is “one problem less on the border”.
“ Last month China became the biggest trade partner with India replacing the US, we must always be optimistic about recent disengagement at the border, these are the two important positive developments, '' said Sanjay Rao Ayde, Professor and head of Department of Political Science, St Stephen's College, University of Delhi.
“Let’s hope that next time when the two leaders meet each other more issues will be resolved. I am sure that days are not far when the two leaders will shake hands with each other.”
READ MORE: Xi urges SCO to strengthen cooperation
China was to "get greater outreach towards central Asia during the summit,” said Ritu Agarwal, an associate prof in Chinese Studies, Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
“Both the leaders are waiting for better opportunities for bilateral meetings in near future,” said Agarwal.
The SCO, a largest economic cooperation institution in Eurasia, includes China, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily.
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