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SCO Summit begins in Astana: PM Modi to address

09 Juin 2017

The PMarrived in the Kazakh capital onThursday on a two-day visit to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit where India and Pakistan will be inducted as full members of the bloc.

Addressing the SCO's heads of council meeting on Friday, he said "I am thankful to member countries for giving Pakistan permanent membership to the body".

Both India and Pakistan have joined SCO, a security bloc spearheaded by China and Russian Federation.

The SCO summit will end with the signing of eleven documents, including the Astana Declaration, the Convention on Combating Extremism and a joint statement on countermeasures against worldwide terrorism.

Srinivas 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. President of Afghanistan Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Belarus Alexandar Lukashenko, President of Mangolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were also present during the summit.

India is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

He said it will also help us to combat terrorism, reduce arms race, fight poverty and epidemic, deal with climate change and ensure water security.

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Earlier in the day, Modi met Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Summit.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attends the SCO Summit in Astana on June 9.

"Though we have become a member of the SCO only today, our relations with the region have been historic", Modi said. "The second thing is, of course, the fight against terrorism".

India abstained from the Summit to highlight its concerns over the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of the "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI), the pet project of Xi Jinping, and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

According to a source here, Modi inquired about Sharif's health after an open heart surgery in London in May past year, Khaleejtimes.com reported.

"The SCO summit will traditionally begin with the (leaders') meeting to discuss the documents to be signed, the current state and priorities for further improving practical cooperation along with regional and global problems".