India to host virtual SCO meet on Nov. 30
-: R Muthu Kumar :-
India will host the virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) councils of Heads of Governments on November 30 in which Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to take part. China-dominated SCO is an eight-nation regional grouping that represents around 42 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.
Meanwhile, under Russia’s BRICS Chairmanship 2020, President Vladimir Putin will host Heads of States of Brazil, China, India and South Africa via video conference on 17 November. The meeting was originally planned to take place in St. Petersburg in July but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Modi, Xi face-to-face
The India-China relationship has been in the global focus post the eastern Ladakh stand-off along the Line of Actual Control. Tensions between the two nations have been simmering since the Ladakh encounter. Under the circumstances, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will share a common forum under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on November 10. Russia as the chairman of SCO will host a virtual summit of the Heads of State of SCO nations on November 10. While a Chinese spokesperson has ruled out any bilateral interaction between Modi and Xi in the virtual meeting, significantly the two leaders will appear together for the first time after the relationships between the two countries turned sour.
Interestingly Russia will also host a meeting of the BRICS Heads of Governments on November 17 again via the virtual mode. Russia is also the current chairman of BRICs. Over the past decade, the group has proved to be a relevant and well-respected format of cooperation. The BRICS countries maintain solidarity in strengthening collective principles in global affairs; they advocate respect for the sovereignty and sovereign equality of all states, and are deeply convinced that conflicts should be resolved only through peaceful means.The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is an influential bloc that collectively defends the principles of a more just world order based on respect for norms and principles of International Laws and the United Nations Charter.
BRICS leaders will focus on significant and complicated issues or questions relating to geopolitical to socio-economic spheres and transformations of the global landscape in the 21st century. The meeting will also adopt a working document that will further reinforce the position and development of the group.
As stipulated by the guidelines, Russia took over the rotating presidency of the BRICS from Brazil. Since its establishment, BRICS has come a long way from an informal forum for exchanging views on current issues on the international agenda to an absolutely mature and stable network of multilateral interactions on diverse issues of international and domestic interest involving the five BRICS countries.
The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is known as an influential bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world’s population. The BRICS countries have a combined GDP of $ 16.6 trillion. Chinese President Xi Jinping will take part in the virtual summit of the SCO council of Heads of State and propound his proposals to consolidate solidarity, mutual trust, strengthen multilateralism and promote the steady development of the grouping in the post-COVID-19 era. BRICS has grown into multilateral structure forum and become an organisation pursuing fair, democratic and multipolar world order.
Russia has agreed to strengthen and promote strategic partnership in all key areas of BRICS activities, such as politics and security, economy and finance, educational and cultural ties. The theme of the Meeting of the Leaders of BRICS is “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth.” The member countries will discuss the enhancement of their countries’ trade and economic collaboration as well as coordination on international stages or platforms. Russian, in fact, plans to end its chairmanship with a strong set of new agreements, including the already agreed upon BRICS Anti-Terrorism Strategy and the updated Strategy for Economic Partnership 2025. This document defines guidelines and priorities for cooperation and gives a new impetus to development of trade and investment cooperation among the five countries.
It further provides a number of initiatives to strengthen sector-specific cooperation among the members. The people-to-people and cultural ties, as well as contacts between experts and civil society representatives, which are already expanding.
According to procedure, each BRICS member takes over the chairmanship for a year. Russia last chaired BRICS in 2015 when it successfully hosted a summit in the provincial city of Ufa. Russia also presided over the group back in 2009, before BRIC turned into BRICS following South Africa’s inclusion into the group.
Despite the current global situation due to the spread of the coronavirus infection, the activities under the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020 have been carried out in a consistent manner. Since January 2020, a number of events have already been organized, including via videoconferencing.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that deepening the strategic partnership in BRICS is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities.
The SCO is a regional international assembly comprising Russia, India, China, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan and Belarus have an observer status, while Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey have the status of SCO dialogue partners
Prime Minister Modi, in fact, will also come face-to-face with Xi Jinping during the India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit scheduled to be held between November 13 and 15. Modi will be addressing the summit.
The fourth possible face off between Modi and Xi could during the G-20 virtual summit scheduled to be hosted by Saudi Arabia on November 21 and 22. Apart from Modi and Xi, the summit will likely see the presence of the possible winner of the US presidential elections.
Xi, Modi to join virtual summit on Nov. 10
First high-level India-China meet post Ladakh standoff
Beijing, Nov 6:
Chinese President Xi Jinping will take part in the virtual summit of the SCO council of Heads of State on November 10 to propound his proposals to consolidate solidarity, mutual trust, strengthen multilateralism and promote the steady development of the grouping in the post-COVID-19 era.
Meanwhile, Russia which is hosting the virtual SCO summit under its chairmanship (2019-2020), will also host a virtual summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) leaders on November 17. Incidentally Russia is also the current chairman of the BRICS group.
Addressing a special media briefing here on Thursday on the attendance of Xi at the SCO summit, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said that the Chinese President will discuss with other leaders new approaches and measures to tackle risks and challenges, and promote security, stability and development.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to take part in the virtual summit on November 10, the first multilateral meeting to be attended by Modi and Xi since the border standoff began in eastern Ladakh in May.
Le ruled out bilateral meetings during the summit as it is a virtual summit and hoped for the resumption of face-to-face meetings in the post-COVID-19 phase.
He said that Xi will put forward proposals at the summit to consolidate solidarity and mutual trust, and deepen cooperation in all areas, strengthen multilateralism, and sound and steady development of the SCO in the post-pandemic era.
Since the beginning of the year, we have seen COVID-19 making an impact on the countries in the region and beyond. This is a common threat and challenge. The SCO countries will deepen solidarity and coordination including policy coordination, take effective measure in the joint efforts to promote regional security and development, Le said.
The SCO will also strive to deepen political and security cooperation on issues of each other’s core interests, and the SCO countries give each other stronger support, firmly oppose external interference in member countries’ internal affairs, he said.
On combating three forces of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, countering narcotics and ensuring information security, member countries will further coordinate their positions, take joint actions and secure regional peace and stability, he said.
In the post-pandemic phase, the SCO countries will explore effective ways to restart economic activities, ensure stable performance of supply and production chains, Le added.
The meeting will be held in the backdrop of the stalemate in the border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh, which has affected the relations between the two neighbouring countries.
China-dominated SCO is an eight-nation regional grouping that represents around 42 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.
China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the founding members of the SCO.
India and Pakistan were admitted into the Beijing-headquartered grouping in 2017.
Meanwhile, India will host the virtual meeting of the SCO Heads of the Government on November 30 in which Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to take part.