Ahead of SCO summit, Putin welcomes India as a major player


Ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Qingdao on June 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin has underlined that India, China and Russia are ‘major players’ in the eight-member Eurasian grouping.

In an interview with CGTN English channel, Mr Putin said that the “rapid economic growth of China, India and Russia, all of which are major players in the organization,” highlighted the importance of India in the Eurasian inter-governmental organisation.

Mr Putin’s specific naming of India, which will participate as a member for the first time at the SCO summit in Qingdao, as a major player is significant as it placed New Delhi on a par with long-standing SCO members, Moscow and Beijing. Putin’s remarks also suggest that Moscow will be working closely with New Delhi in the SCO.

Mr Putin had played a crucial role in facilitating India’s full membership of the SCO. China had pushed for Pakistan’s membership, but was hesitant get New Delhi inside the SCO tent. India participated as an observer in the SCO meetings till New Delhi was inducted as a full member at the SCO summit in Astana in June 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the SCO summit in Qingdao and will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with the leaders of SCO countries. Mr Modi is expected to pitch for enhanced regional connectivity and counter-terror cooperation at the SCO summit.

A bilateral meeting is expected between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin on the sidelines of the two-day meet where the leaders of China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, will also be present to discuss the threats and challenges facing the region. If the meeting between the two leaders takes place, then it will be the second interaction in three weeks after the informal summit at Sochi in May.

“Russia is India’s old-time friend. We share long-standing historical ties, and Mr President (Putin) is my personal friend and a friend of India,” Mr Modi had said after a summit at the Black Sea resort of Sochi in May.

“The friendship between India and Russia has stood the test of time. Our ties will continue to scale newer heights in the coming years,” Mr Modi had tweeted.