ISLAMABAD: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit will be virtually hosted by India in the first week of July, which begs the issue of why New Delhi is choosing not to welcome regional leaders in person.
The SCO, which includes Russia, China, Pakistan, and several central Asian republics, is now presided over by India. The conference will essentially take place on July 4, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over the 22nd Summit of the SCO Council of Heads of State, which will be held virtually on July 4, 2023, according to a statement from India’s external affairs ministry. This would be India’s first ever chairmanship of the organization.
The choice was not explained, although observers think there may have been a number of considerations. China may be one of the causes. Whether Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit New Delhi in July remained unclear. The G20 conference in India in September is also expected to be attended by the presidents of China and Russia.
The second issue may be that India does not place the same value on the SCO because China and Russia dominate it. Nevertheless, many people were surprised by its choice to host the summit.
India took up the SCO’s rotational chairmanship on September 16, 2022, during the Samarkand Summit. All SCO members, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, were invited to the summit, according to the announcement.
There were internal discussions taking place in Islamabad on the attendance of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the summit in New Delhi. Before it, the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Goa was attended by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. After 2011, this was the first trip to India by a Pakistani foreign minister. There were expectations that the Pakistani prime minister would attend the summit in New Delhi, but Bilawal’s visit ended in further controversy.