Growing violence in Afghanistan, trade and economic cooperation as well as fighting against the global pandemic of COVID-19 are on the agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO Heads of State summit.
The summit taking place in a hybrid mode is being held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan from Sept 16-17, 2021 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend virtually.
Mainly the focus will be on the situation in Afghanistan as it will have a major impact on the Central Asian countries as well as others. The crisis in that country has aggravated following the withdrawal of the US led forces after two decades and the return of the Taliban to power.
Tajikistan is the chair this year and has hosted several meetings in the last two months of the SCO member countries in various areas including foreign, defence and National Security advisors.
The member countries are also expected to discuss the fight against the global pandemic of COVID-19 and how to build trade and economic cooperation among the nations post COVID.
Who will attend?
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and leaders of Central Asian countries will be present physically and according to reports Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend virtually.
Will there be participation from Afghanistan?
If the previous regime of President Ashraf Gghani was still in power, Afghanistan would have been present. Now, it will have to be seen if any representative will reach Dushanbe to participate in the summit.
Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia, and Belarus, are the observers in the grouping and countries including Turkey, Cambodia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have got dialogue partner status.
As a grouping SCO covers almost 60 percent of the Eurasian continent, spread over 34 million square kilometers.