Tashkent: Ahead of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit which is set to take place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 15-16, Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Manish Prabhat said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the summit and hold bilateral meetings with several leaders.

"Leaders of SCO member countries are meeting after two years due to the COVID pandemic. Some bilateral meetings will take place on the sidelines of the SCO but the programme of the meetings will be finalised in due course," Ambassador Prabhat told ANI in an exclusive interview.

Responding to a question on whether PM Modi will be holding meetings with the heads of nations like Pakistan, China and Russia, the envoy said, "I'm not able to comment on that at this moment but you would soon come to know."

The meeting with global leaders is considered crucial as the leaders are meeting in person after a long gap of two years.

Speaking further, the Ambassador underlined that the issues of connectivity of the Central Asian countries which are landlocked will also be discussed at the SCO summit.

"Economic cooperation in the SCO is an important question which of course will be discussed in the SCO meetings. When we are meeting with central Asian countries we are always discussing connectivity which will promote trade, investment others exchanges between Indian and central Asians," he told ANI.

"Chabahar port in Iran is a very important port. India is promoting the usage of the Chabahar port so that it becomes the hub of connectivity between India and Central Asia," he added.

The Ambassador also reaffirmed that India always raises its voice against terrorism in every global forum and this time in SCO, India is likely to raise issues of terrorism and radicalisation with the global leaders.

"To stop terrorism, radicalisation and extremism is part of SCO summit which we will discuss and this is not a country-specific agenda it is very important for all the countries," Ambassador Prabhat told ANI.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi are also expected to attend the summit. Uzbekistan is the chair of SCO 2022 and India will be the next chair of the SCO.

The 21st meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State was held on September 17, 2021, in Dushanbe in a hybrid format. President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon chaired the meeting. PM Modi led the Indian delegation and addressed the plenary session of the Summit via video link. At Dushanbe, India was represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

It was the first SCO Summit being held in a hybrid format and the fourth Summit that India participated in as a full-fledged member of SCO. The Summit assumed significance as the organization celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The 20th Summit of the SCO Council of Heads of State was held on November 10, 2020 (in video conference format). The meeting was chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier, PM Modi had attended the 19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State (CHS) of SCO from June 13-14, 2019 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.