Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday morning left on an eight-day visit to attend Summits of BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The tour will have Modi visiting five Asian countries and Russia, aiming to enhance strategic, economic and energy ties.
The Prime Minister has already reached Uzbekistan and posted a photo of him walking with PM Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev on Facebook this afternoon. From here, Modi will go to Kazhakhstan on Tuesday. Then, the Indian PM will visit Russia on July 8, before flying to Turkmenistan on July 10, Kyrgyzstan on July 11 and Tajikistan on July 12.
India currently only has an observer status to the SCO and the visit could see the country getting the membership of the six-nation grouping comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. This could be one of the major highlights of Modi’s visit.
On the other hands, the summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), some of the most important economies of the world, will have discussions on economic cooperation and possibility of trade in local currency.
The BRICS Summit could look at the possibility of starting easy credit facility in local currency. For this, the BRICS Development Bank has already been set up, of whom Indian banker MV Kamath is the first head.
The Ministry of External Affairs also said last week that during the visit to the five Central Asian countries, the focus will be on enhancing trade, which is “not impressive”, and cooperation in energy and security. Modi will be the first Indian PM to visit all these countries together.
Efforts will also be made to propel the Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project, which is crucial for India’s energy needs for carrying gas from Central Asia, and has so far been affected because of a lack of physical connectivity.