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PM Modi in Uzbekistan to attend SCO Summit, will meet Putin today

Updated on Sep 16, 2022 12:05 AM IST

This is the first time the SCO Summit is being held in-person after going virtual for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received by his Uzbekistan counterpart Abdulla Aripov at Samarkand airport on Thursday. (MEA/Twitter)
By, New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed in Uzbekistan's capital Samarkand for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit 2022. Uzbekistan's Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov received him at the airport, according to a statement by the external affairs ministry.

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Several ministers, governor of Samarkand, and government officials of the Uzbekistan government were also present at the airport to welcome the Indian prime minister.

The statement stated that Modi will participate in the SCO Summit on Friday morning and then hold bilateral meetings with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the event. The PM will also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's Ebrahim Raisi.

This is the first in-person meet among the member states after the summit was held in virtual format in 2021 and 2020 in Tajikistan and Russia, respectively, due to Covid-19 pandemic. There is no meeting lined up for the prime minister today.

Modi and Putin last met in December 2021 when the Russian President had visited India. They spoke with each as recently as February 24 after Russia began its invasion in Ukraine. The two leaders are expected to discuss Russian-Indian cooperation within the UN and G20.

Earlier, Pakistan's foreign office ruled out a bilateral meeting between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Shehbaz Sharif. Meanwhile, there is no official word from both India as well as China on a possible meeting between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Before departing for Samarkand, Modi in a departure statement said that he will discuss regional as well as global issues, and expansion of the SCO during the summit.

“Under the Uzbek Chairship, a number of decisions for mutual cooperation are likely to be adopted in areas of trade, economy, culture and tourism,” he added.

The summit, which is a two-day event, began earlier on Thursday, and has already featured meetings between Putin and Xi, and the Russian president and his Iranian counterpart.

At the meeting between Russia and China, Xi told Putin that his country will work with the Russian president's side to “instill stability and positive energy in a chaotic world”. Putin, meanwhile, praised China's “balanced” approach on Ukraine, and also took a swipe at the United States.

This was the first meeting between the two presidents since the Ukraine war.

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.

(With inputs from agencies)

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