India to host SCO summit in 2023, Pak attendance unsure

India to host SCO summit next year, Pakistan non-committal on attending

Pakistan’s 'iron brother' China, however, joined Russia and other members to pledge full support to India's chairmanship

PM Modi at Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand. Credit: Reuters Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to host the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) next year after India took over the chair of the eight-nation bloc from Uzbekistan Friday.

Islamabad sought to throw a spanner in the works immediately after India took over after the 22nd summit at Samarkand in Uzbekistan. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that no decision had been taken yet on the participation of his country’s government in the summit to be hosted by India. Pakistan’s “iron brother” China, however, joined Russia and the other SCO nations to pledge full support to the chairmanship of India.

Also read: PM Narendra Modi calls for transit access through Pakistan

“Here I wish to express China’s congratulations to India on assuming the next SCO presidency. We will, together with other member states, support India during its presidency,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his speech at the summit at Samarkand Friday. Russian President Vladimir Putin too wished India success during its SCO chairmanship as did other leaders of the bloc.

By the time Modi will host the 23rd meeting of the SCO’s Council of Heads of State in New Delhi next year, it will turn into a nine-nation bloc, with admission of Iran, currently one of the four observers, as a new member.

The SCO summit is the second plurilateral conclave to be held in New Delhi next year. The prime minister will also host the 18th summit of the G20 on September 9 and 10 next year. India will take over the G20 presidency from Indonesia on December 1 this year – just after the 17th summit of the bloc, which will be held in Bali and hosted by the South-East Asian nation’s President Joko Widodo on November 15 and 16.

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