New Delhi [India], November 27 (ANI): Hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of Government Summit for the first time on November 30, India will focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic challenges.
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu will chair the SCO Council of Heads of Government meeting on November 30 to decide the strategies and priorities for trade and economic cooperation for 2021.
Sources familiar with the developments told ANI, "India is committed to widening its cooperation with the SCO by playing a proactive, positive and constructive role in the organisation. During the course of our present chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of Government in 2020, India has particularly, focused on creating three new pillars of cooperation -- start-ups and innovation, science and technology, and traditional medicine -- and also proposed many other concrete initiatives. India has offered to create and chair a new special working group on start-ups and innovation and to set up an expert working group on cooperation in traditional medicine.
Another official source told ANI India hopes to further strengthen greater trade, economic and cultural cooperation within the SCO by putting human needs at the centre of its activities and to foster greater peace and prosperity in the region.
"We hope that India's initiatives will not only be helpful for the SCO member states in overcoming the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic but will also signal our continued commitment to strengthening the organisation," he added.
Apart from the other seven SCO member states (Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), the heads of a delegation of four observer states (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia) will also participate in the summit.
Turkmenistan has been invited as a special guest. The secretary-general of SCO and the executive director of the SCO Regional Anti-terrorist Structure (SCO RATS) are also invited. Chairmen of SCO Business Council and SCO Interbank Association will also be present.
The SCO Council of Heads of Government deals primarily with the trade and economic agenda of the organisation and approves its annual Budget.
Every annual meeting of the SCO Heads of Government ends with a joint communique that contains the major proposals of the member states on issues of trade and economic cooperation. This year, the summit will end with the adoption of the joint statement under the chairmanship of India.
There will be other decisions on the report on the implementation of the SCO Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation, prepared by the SCO Secretariat, as well. (ANI)