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PM to virtually lead delegation at SCO summit on September 17

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the Indian delegation virtually at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to be held in Tajik capital city of Dushanbe on September 17, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will travel to Dushanbe for the SCO meetings that are expected to extensively deliberate on the Afghan crisis and its internal as well as external implications, people familiar with the

matter said.

"The 21st meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State will be held on September 17 in Dushanbe in a hybrid format. The meeting will be chaired by the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the Indian delegation and address the plenary session of the summit via video-link," the MEA said. "At Dushanbe, India will be represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar," it said in a statement.

The MEA said the summit will be attended by the leaders of the SCO member states, observer states, secretary general of the SCO, executive director of the SCO regional anti-terrorist structure, the president of Turkmenistan and other invited guests.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate defence offices complexes at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Africa Avenue here today.

The PMO said he will visit the complex at Africa Avenue and interact with Army, Navy, Air Force and civilian officers and also address the gathering.

The new complexes will accommodate around 7,000 officials from the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces.

The buildings will provide modern, secure and functional working spaces, the Prime Minister's Office said, adding that an Integrated Command and Control Centre has been established for managing building operations while also catering to the end-to-end safety and surveillance of both the buildings.

The new Defence Office Complexes are state-of-the-art and energy-efficient, with comprehensive security management measures.

Furthermore, the PM Modi spoke to his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Wednesday as the two leaders reviewed the rapid progress in the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including through the recent 'two-plus-two' dialogue.

They also exchanged views on regional developments and the forthcoming Quad meeting, Modi said. "Was happy to speak with my friend @ScottMorrisonMP. We reviewed the rapid progress in the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including through the recent 2+2 Dialogue. We also exchanged perspectives on regional developments and the forthcoming

Quad meeting," the prime minister tweeted.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajath Singh had held the 'two-plus-two' talks here with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton on Saturday.

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