News Brief

After Modi Decides To Skip SCO Summit, Kazakhstan Requests His Virtual Presence — Here's Why

Nishtha Anushree

Jun 30, 2024, 10:09 AM | Updated 10:09 AM IST

PM Modi participating in the G20 virtual summit. (PMO) 
PM Modi participating in the G20 virtual summit. (PMO) 

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to skip the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, Kazakhstan has reportedly requested his presence virtually.

The summit is set to be held on 3-4 July in Kazakhstan's Astana. However, amid strained ties with China and due to occupancy with the ongoing Parliament session, PM Modi decided not to go.

Earlier, Modi had spoken about having "a good conversation" with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and thanked him for warm wishes on the success in the elections.

"Reiterated the commitment to advance our Strategic Partnership with Kazakhstan. Conveyed India's full support for the success of the upcoming SCO Summit," Modi posted on X.

This comes after Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was hoping for a bilateral meeting with PM Modi on the sidelines of the SCO summit. Modi had last visited Kazakhstan in 2017.

Kazakhstan is India's biggest trading partner in Central Asia. It had also played an important role in inducting India into the SCO. It is likely to keep counterterrorism as a key agenda at the summit.

Currently, SCO has India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its members and leaders of all these states except India are set to be present in the Summit.

If PM Modi participates in the summit virtually, it will be for two hours, as per ET sources. To represent India, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is set to go to the summit.

Virtual summits were earlier held for SCO during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. In 2023 again, when the summit was held under India's presidency, it was virtual.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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