Putin to join SCO summit chaired by Modi

NEW DELHI: Russian President Vladimir Putin will virtually address the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for the first time since the Wagner mercenary group staged a mutiny in June.

He will be virtually addressing leaders from China, India, Pakistan and four Central Asian countries for the global summit on Tuesday. This year, the meeting will be chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi.

The SCO was formed in 2001 by China, Russia and four Central Asian countries to counter western influence in the region. India and Pakistan joined the group in 2017.

All SCO members, which also include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, have either abstained or not voted in favour of UN sanctions against Russia. The summit affords Putin an opportunity to signal that he is still welcomed on global platforms despite the Ukraine war.

India, which holds the presidency of SCO and the G20 this year, has walked a diplomatic tightrope as relations between western nations and a Russia-China partnership have been fraught due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year, and Beijing’s growing assertive presence in the global geopolitical theatre.

Putin spoke to Modi in a call last week to discuss the aftermath of the quashed mercenary mutiny. During the discussion Modi reiterated a call for dialogue and diplomacy regarding the war in Ukraine.

Last year on the sidelines of the summit in Uzbekistan Modi told Putin that it is not the era of war, which is the closest India has come to addressing the issue of the war directly with the Russian leader.

The summit takes place two weeks after Modi was hosted by US President Joe Biden for a state visit, and the two countries called themselves “among the closest partners in the world”.

SCO member nations are expected to discuss Afghanistan, terrorism, regional security, climate change and digital inclusion, among other topics.

Partially sourced from Reuters.

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