New Delhi, July 4 (EFE).- President Vladimir Putin will virtually address a regional summit on Tuesday, marking his first multilateral meeting since a failed mutiny that shook the Russian military leadership amid the ongoing war with Ukraine.
Putin will meet the leaders of the countries, including China and India, which make up the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – an economic and security block founded by Moscow and Beijing in response to Western alliances in Asia.
India, as the chair of the summit, aims to address security challenges, terrorism and formalize Iran’s membership in the organization, which includes Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Member nations will initiate the process of allowing Belarus, one of Russia’s closest allies, to join the bloc.
The summit holds significant importance for Russia, providing an opportunity to gauge the support of its closest allies amid the Ukraine conflict.
Recently, the Russian military leadership was rattled after the aborted armed rebellion by the Wagner private military company, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was in Russia just ten days ago but is now in exile in Belarus.
The insurrection, which saw the private Russian army marching toward Moscow, raised concerns about Putin’s control amid the war.
The summit also serves as an opportunity to evaluate the current state of the worsening India-China ties.
Over the past few years, ties have deteriorated due to tensions along their shared borders between India and China.
In 2020, tensions between India and China peaked when a series of clashes occurred in the Himalayan Galwan Valley in the border region of Ladakh.
The confrontation resulted in the loss of at least 20 Indian soldiers, with 76 others sustaining injuries. China acknowledged that four Chinese soldiers were also killed during the physical brawl.
Despite pressure from the Western countries, both India and China have refrained from condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, it was during the SCO summit last year that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Putin that “today’s era is not of war and democracy, diplomacy and dialogue are such things that touch the world.”
India joined the SCO in 2017 to be a member of the regional grouping focused on political, economic, security, and defense issues.
Apart from the eight member states, the bloc currently has four observers – Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia – and six dialogue partners – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.
Established in 2001, the SCO has a special focus on regional security, the fight against terrorism in the region, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. EFE