Looking forward to advancing India's association with SCO members: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi [India], Nov 1 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who will be participating in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) Council of the Heads of Government (CHG) meeting in Uzbekistan on November 1 and 2, has said that he will look forward to advancing India's association with the member states for greater economic and counter-terrorism cooperation.

"I shall be travelling to Tashkent, Uzbekistan tomorrow to represent India at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) Council of the Heads of Government (CHG) meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 1-2 November," he said in a tweet on Thursday.

Rajnath said that the SCO represents over 40 per cent of humanity and nearly 20 per cent of the global GDP. "The successful cooperation within the framework of SCO, therefore, is of great significance to the region and the world," he added.

"I look forward to furthering India's association with the SCO members which will help us in greater economic cooperation and also counter-terrorism cooperation, among several other things," the Defence Minister said in a follow-up tweet.

This will be the third CHG meeting after India became a member of SCO in 2017. The last two CHG meetings were held from November 30 to December 1, 2017, in Sochi in Russia and on October 11 to 12, 2018, in Dushanbe in Tajikistan.

"India is actively engaged in various SCO cooperation activities/dialogue mechanisms in the region as well as to further develop multilateral cooperation within the SCO framework," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Thursday.

The leaders participating in the meeting are expected to focus their discussions on the multilateral economic cooperation/economic development in the SCO region.

"On the sidelines of CHG meeting, the Defence Minister's programme in Tashkent will include bilateral meeting(s)," the statement said.

India and Uzbekistan have been strengthening their military ties in recent times and conducted bilateral exercises between their respective armies.

The SCO member states include: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. (ANI)