New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to share the stage in a virtual mode with a galaxy of regional and global leaders, including his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan and Chinese and Russian presidents, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.
All eyes are on the 21st Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State to be held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Friday, September 17.
Prime Minister Modi will lead the Indian delegation and address the Summit's plenary session via video link.
The meeting will certainly focus on the Afghanistan situation. Coincidentally, September 17 is also Mr Modi's birthday.
There are issues about the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which captured power via gun-power and are adamant about enforcing the medieval interpretation of the Sharia, where women may not have any rights.
India is trying to maintain a realistic approach in Afghanistan and is eyeing certain diplomatic gains due to its 'contacts' and having a cordial and historical bond with the people of Afghanistan.
At Dushanbe, India will be represented by External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar.
But there are no details about his bilateral engagements there.
Like Modi, Xi Jinping and Putin are also to address the meeting virtually, but Pakistan Prime Minister Imran is attending the meeting in person, which will discuss matters related to humanitarian and security situations in Afghanistan.
In a media interview, Imran Khan has demanded financial 'incentives' for the Taliban dispensation.
Tajikistan, which is hosting the SCO Summit, is generally seen as opposed to the Taliban as Tajiks form the second largest minority in Afghanistan. They are not sure of the well-being of Tajiks in a Pashtun dominated arrangement under the Taliban.
India is keen to keep a good and 'historical bond' with the 'Afghan people' but has strong reservations about recognizing the Taliban.
New Delhi has been told that one Afghan Hindu individual, Bansari Lal Arendeh, kidnapped in Kabul, is an Indian national.
MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday: "We are told he is an Indian national. We are in touch with all concerned. We have seen reports that local authorities are undertaking an investigation. We will continue to monitor the situation."
India also sees the case as 'sensitive'.
Arrendeh is a pharmaceutical shop owner in Kabul and was allegedly kidnapped on Tuesday morning.
Iran and Afghanistan have observer status in the SCO. India and Pakistan have been in the group since 2017.
The SCO member states include Afghanistan's neighbours–Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia.
India considers the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) an important regional organization to promote cooperation in peace, security, trade, economy and culture.
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External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Monday said that he had "very productive talks" with Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, where they discussed a wide range of regional and global issues, including the in-principle agreement on mutual recognition of Covid vaccination certification. During the meeting, the two ministers agreed to resume FTA (Free Trade Agreements) negotiations next month. "Very productive talks today with APM and FM @YairLapid ...