India and Pakistan will be formally admitted into the China dominated six-nation grouping at the SCO summit tomorrow. China hopes that India and Pakistan will also mend their ties and uphold the spirit of the SCO after becoming members.
It was earlier being speculated that Modi and Jinping would hold a meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit amid tensions between India and China over several issues, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) and the Sino-Indian border dispute. Till now China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the group's full members. Besides, the document says that new countries' participation in military cooperation "will help enhance mutual confidence between the member states". "We launched the process of full membership in Tashkent meeting of the SCO past year", the Prime Minister said in a statement.
However, there is no meeting scheduled between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The ministry official also stated that the main areas of cooperation in the SCO for India will be the fight against terror, and promotion of trade, connectivity, energy and banking, ANI reported.
It was China that announced Iran's membership would be discussed in the SCO meeting this week.
He said that while the SCO Secretariat is in Beijing, there is a sub-body called Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) that has its office in Tashkent.
Besides the SCO Summit, Kazakhstan is also hosting the International Expo 2017, in which more than 100 countries, including Pakistan, are participating.
According to Nandan Unnikrishnan, Vice-President, Observer Research Foundation, a foreign policy think-tank, this will become a significant platform for India to leverage geopolitical gains for itself, especially at a time when the world is taking a different turn under the Trump administration in the US.
"The SCO members do not want to antagonize the new USA president", Weitz believes. "Connectivity, for example, is the prime desire for the country as we want to connect to central Asia", he said. Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have an observer status.