New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Bishkek to attend the two day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on Thursday. This will be the first multilateral engagement following his re-election. Multiple bilateral talks including meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been planned on the sidelines of the summit.

Before leaving for the Bishkek visit, PM Modi said that India has attached special importance to the SCO in promoting multi-lateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interaction with the region. “India has actively participated in various SCO dialogue mechanisms since its full membership of SCO two years ago,” he further said.

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will also attend the summit. While foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has stated that no bilateral meetings have been planned between PM Modi and Khan, both of them are expected to come face to face for the first time. It has been predicted that Modi’s address to the summit will focus on terrorism.  

The SCO is a political, economic and security alliance and is widely recognized as the ‘alliance of the East’. The founding members of the SCO include  China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became full members of the SCO in 2017.