Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 29
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu will chair the first Council of Heads of Government (CHG) summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to be hosted by India on Monday.
The meeting has been converted into a virtual format due to the pandemic and will see focused discussions on the various vaccines being developed by three SCO countries—India, Russia and China.
India had assumed the Chairmanship of the SCO Council of CHG in 2019 and will complete its tenure on the day of the summit.
The SCO CHG is also expected to take note on the move initiated by India, Pakistan, South Africa and other developing counties at the WTO to seek relaxation of IPR laws to help in the development and easy distribution of vaccines and other pandemic related medical equipment.
The proposal is being opposed by the US and EU, while nearly all SCO member countries as well as the observers are in agreement with the spirit of the Indian proposal.
The SCO CHG deals primarily with the trade and economic agenda and approves its annual budget. Apart from the other seven SCO members (Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), four observer states—Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia—will also participate. Turkmenistan will be invited as a special guest.
India’s engagement with SCO started in 2005 as an Observer State and India became a full member at the SCO’s Astana summit in 2017.
The meeting will come out with a Joint Communique containing major proposals of Member States on issues of trade and economic cooperation. There will also be a report on the implementation of the SCO Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation prepared by the SCO Secretariat.
During its Chairmanship, India has particularly focused on creating three new pillars of cooperation: Startups and Innovation, Science and Technology and Traditional Medicine and also proposed many other concrete initiatives.
“By hosting the 19th meeting of the SCO CHG, India hopes to further strengthen trade, economic and cultural cooperation within SCO,” said a MEA press release.
India considers SCO as an important regional organisation to promote cooperation in the areas of peace, security, trade, economy and culture and is committed to widening cooperation by playing a proactive, positive and constructive role in the organisation, it added.