Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday emphasised on connectivity in the neighbourhood and in the Eurasian region and said the same is a priority for India.
Addressing the plenary session of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in China’s Qingdao city, he said, “We have again reached a stage where physical and digital connectivity is changing the definition of geography. Therefore, connectivity with our neighbourhood and in the SCO region is our priority.”
The plenary session is taking place on the second day of the two-day SCO Summit at Qingdao International Convention Center.
Before the plenary session, the day commenced with a welcome ceremony and a group photo of leaders of the eight SCO member-states.
Prime Minister, at the session, also focussed on tourism and said India is taking steps to boost the number of tourists from SCO nations visiting the country.
“Only 6% of foreign tourists in India are from SCO countries, this can easily be doubled. Increasing awareness of our shared cultures can help boost this number. We will organize an SCO food festival and a Buddhist festival in India,” Prime Minister Modi said.
Prime Minister Modi, who reached China’s Qingdao on Saturday afternoon, was present on the occasion along with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani among other leaders.
The prime minister also touched upon the terrorism issue and remarked that “Afghanistan is an unfortunate example” of the same.
“I hope the brave steps towards peace taken by President Ghani will be respected by all in the region,” he added.
Prior to the plenary session, a restricted session took place which was attended only by the SCO members.
Ahead of the plenary session, Prime Minister Modi met with Chinese President Xi and shared handshake.
During the summit, the leaders of the member states will sign the Qingdao Declaration and some other agreements on security, economic cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges.
The leaders will also analyse international and regional security situations and discuss measures to boost cooperation.
This is the first SCO Summit India is attending as a full-time member. In June 2017, India and Pakistan became full members of the organisation during Astana summit in Kazakhstan.
Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to leave for India in the evening. He will reach Palam Air Force Station in Delhi at about 10 pm.