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Opinion

Venkaiah Naidu will chair the meeting of SCO heads of government; MPs from India and Pakistan unlikely to join

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Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu will chair the summit of the council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on November 30, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan are not expected to join the meeting. virtual.

The council of heads of government is the second highest organ of the OCS and is responsible for managing the commercial and economic agenda of the group and approving its annual budget. This is the first time that India has hosted a meeting of the body since it was admitted to the eight-member grouping in 2017.

Modi, Khan and Chinese President Xi Jinping had joined the SCO virtual Summit that Russia chaired earlier this month.

People familiar with the events said, on condition of anonymity, that India has generally been represented at meetings of the council of heads of government at the level of the Foreign Minister, while Defense Minister Rajnath Singh had attended the meeting of the last year in Uzbekistan.

“Since India is the venue for the meeting this year, the Vice President will preside over it,” said one of the people quoted above.

In January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said that the meeting of the council of heads of government is “held annually at the level of prime minister” and that India would invite the eight SCO members and the four observer states and other dialogue partners. international to the November meeting.

According to media reports, Modi will visit his Varanasi constituency on November 30 to launch the Varanasi-Prayagraj highway project and participate in the Deepotsav celebrations on the Ganges ghats.

The people quoted above also said that Pakistan is expected to be represented by a minister, as Khan would skip the meeting. Although Khan has joined virtual multilateral meetings hosted by other countries, he skipped the online meeting of leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation hosted by India in March to discuss ways to counter the Covid-19 pandemic.

The representative of Pakistan at that meeting had caused a stir by raising the issue of Kashmir.

One of the people quoted above said that India considers the SCO an important regional organization to promote cooperation in security, trade and economy based on universally recognized international standards, good governance, rule of law, transparency and equality.

“India is committed to expanding our cooperation with SCO by playing a proactive, positive and constructive role in the organization,” the person said.

The other seven members of the SCO are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and the four observer states are Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia. Turkmenistan, the SCO Secretary General and the Executive Director of the SCO Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure were also invited to the November 30 meeting. The annual meeting ends with a joint communiqué with important proposals on commercial and economic cooperation.

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