Astana: India and Pakistan on Friday joined the SCO with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that unless strong and coordinated efforts are made, the issues of radicalisation and financing and training of terrorists would be impossible to address, in a veiled dig at Islamabad.
“Whether it is the issue of radicalisation, recruitment of terrorists, their training and financing, unless we take coordinated and strong efforts, it is impossible to find a solution,” Mr Modi said in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
In his address at the annual Summit of the SCO in the Kazakh capital, Mr Modi
“Terrorism is a major threat to humanity,” Mr Modi said, adding that there was a need for concerted efforts to defeat terrorism and radicalisation.
“I have full confidence that the India-SCO cooperation will give a new direction and strength to the fight against terrorism,” Mr Modi said.
Terrorism is violation of human rights and basic human values. The fight against terrorism is an important part of the SCO cooperation, he said.
The Prime Minister also spoke on the need for enhancing connectivity in the region and said it was the key for boosting trade and investment.
“We have extensive cooperation with SCO nations. We want to deepen the focus on connectivity,” he said.
The Prime Minister, speaking in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif among others, also asserted that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be the key factors in such a cooperation.
“Connectivity with SCO member countries is a priority for India and we whole heartedly support it. We want connectivity to pave way for enhancing cooperation and confidence among the societies and young people. Respect to sovereignty and regional integrity is necessary. It is also important to ensure inclusivity and sustainability,” the Prime Minister said.
PM: Respect each other’s concerns
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday underscored the need to respect each other’s “core concerns” and appropriately handle the disputes as he held “cordial” talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid tensions in ties over a host of issues including the CPEC and India’s NSG bid.
It is their first meeting after India boycotted the high-profile Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing last month in which 29 world leaders took part.
During the meeting, Modi said the two sides should tap their potential in cooperation, strengthen communication and coordination in international affairs, respect each other’s core concerns and appropriately handle their disputes.
Giving broad outcome of the meeting, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said the broad thrust of it was that at the time of global uncertainty, India-China relations are a factor of stability and as the world becomes more multi-polar it was important for the two countries to work together more closely.
“There was an understanding that where we have differences, it is important that differences should not become disputes and in fact if they were handled well, could even be opportunities,” Jaishankar told reporters.
Growing power bloc
The SCO was founded at a Summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
It is a China-dominated security grouping that is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO
With the first expansion of the grouping since its inception in 2001, the SCO will now represent over 40 per cent of humanity and nearly 20 per cent of the global GDP
India, Iran and Pakistan were admitted as observers at the 2005 Astana Summit.
India’s membership was strongly pushed by Russia while Pakistan’s entry into the grouping was backed by China.
As an SCO member, India is expected to have a bigger say in pressing for concerted action in dealing with terrorism as well as on issues relating to security and defence in the region.
India, one of the largest energy consuming countries in the world, is also likely to get greater access to major gas and oil exploration projects in Central Asia as many of the SCO countries have huge reserves of oil and natural gas.