Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Kazakhstan’s Astana on Thursday for the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
The two-day summit will lead to India becoming a full member of the SCO, which is a Central Asian regional organization. Pakistan is also set to be made a full member along with India at the summit.
Prime Minister Modi will also hold bilateral talks with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev for boosting ties in the fields of trade and commerce, education, tourism and other sectors.
According to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Gopal Baglay, India’s participation in the SCO as a full member will benefit trade and economic activity. He added that trade, connectivity, energy, banking and fight against terrorism are the main areas of cooperation outlined in the SCO.
Joint Secretary, Eurasia, G. V. Srinivas said, “India is joining SCO with an open mind for peace and stability in the region. Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness, promoting cooperation in politics, trade, economy, research, technology and culture and other areas are the main goals of SCO.”
India and Pakistan signed the memorandum of obligations on 24 June 2016 at Tashkent, thereby starting the formal process of joining the SCO as full members.
Kazakhstan is India’s largest trading partner in Central Asia and the total trade volume between the two countries rose from 120 million US dollars to around 900 million dollars in recent years. India’s imports to Kazakhstan include pharmaceuticals, tea, tobacco, telephone equipment and construction machinery.
Its imports from Kazakhstan comprise oil, uranium, titanium, steel, copper among other things.
(With inputs from ANI)