Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday discussed India’s ascension to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the two leaders vowed to take their strategic bilateral ties forward.
The process of India joining the SCO — a regional security bloc led by China and Russia — will be complete next year.
Modi and Putin met for 90 minutes shortly after the Indian PM arrived on a three-day visit here to attend the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits.
“Defence ties, energy cooperation including nuclear and hydrocarbon, the progress on a free trade area (FTA) negotiations were discussed between the two leaders”, foreign secretary S Jaishankar said. "Substantial discussions were held on the ongoing nuclear energy cooperation as it is a clean energy form that fights the challenge of climate change”, he added.
Putin, speaking through a translator, said that India’s entry into the SCO was a “very important development” and he was “looking forward to developing cooperation (between the two countries).”
Modi thanked Putin with regard to India becoming a full member of the SCO. He recalled that the Russian President had himself called to inform him about the decision of the six-nation grouping.
A great deal of the SCO’s focus is on security issues. India also hopes that the bloc will play a greater role in maintaining the peace and stability of Afghanistan.
The SCO comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status, while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are partners for dialogue.
While talking about the close relationship between India and Russia, the PM said he would visit the country again later this year for the annual bilateral summit meeting.
Modi also thanked Putin for the huge success of International Yoga Day in Russia on June 21 during their conversation. Yoga will provide “holistic healthcare to the new generation in the world,” Modi said.
The Russian president — who’s petted a polar bear and tranquilized a tiger — remarked that he hasn’t “tried doing yoga as he finds it difficult.”
Modi is expected to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the summit on Friday.