In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told leaders of the SCO nations that there must not be any double standards in combating terrorist activities and the bloc must not hesitate to criticise countries that support cross-border terrorism as part of state policy.
With Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin listening, Modi said at a virtual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that there is a need for decisive action to deal with terrorism and terror financing. Terrorism has become a threat to regional and global peace, PM Modi said calling for expanding mutual cooperation to deal with the menace by the grouping.
“We have to fight together against terrorism that may be in any form and any manifestation,” PM Modi said, asserting that there must not be any double standards in fighting terrorism. The virtual summit under India’s presidency was attended by leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran as well.
Chairing the summit, PM Modi also delved into various global challenges. The food, fuel and fertiliser crisis is a big challenge for all the countries in the world surrounded by controversies, tensions and epidemics and there must be united efforts to deal with it, he said.
On the situation in Afghanistan, Modi said India’s concerns and expectations regarding that country are similar to those of most SCO countries. The prime minister said the SCO has emerged as a key platform for peace, prosperity and development for Eurasia.
India’s thousands of years old cultural and people-to-people ties with this region (Eurasia) are living testimony to our shared heritage, he said. As chair of SCO, India has made sustained efforts to take our multifaceted cooperation to new heights, he added.
PM Modi said India has established five pillars of cooperation within the SCO that included startup and innovation, traditional medicine, youth empowerment, digital inclusion and shared Buddhist heritage.
He said India supports the proposal of reform and modernisation of the SCO. I am happy that Iran is going to join the SCO family as a new member, he said.
The prime minister also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Obligation for the SCO membership of Belarus. A number of signature events were held under the Indian presidency with the intention to further deepen people-to-people connect.
India’s association with the SCO began in 2005 as an observer country. It became a full member state of SCO at the Astana summit in 2017. India has shown a keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became full members of the SCO in 2017.