PM Modi in Astana: Enhance connectivity without infringing sovereignty
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Astana: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday strongly pitched for coordinated efforts among SCO members to combat the menace of terrorism and enhance connectivity without impinging on sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In his address at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Kazakh capital, Modi hoped that India’s entry into the SCO family will give a new momentum to the grouping in dealing with terrorism.
“Terrorism is a major threat to humanity,” Modi said, adding that there was a need for concerted efforts to defeat terrorism and radicalisation.
Modi stressed on coordinated efforts to fight the menace of terrorism, including radicalisation, recruitment, training and financing of terrorists.
“I have full confidence that the India-SCO cooperation will give a new direction and strength to the fight against terrorism,” Modi 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.
However, the Prime Minister, speaking in the presence of Chinese president Xi Jinping and Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif among others, asserted that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be the key factors in such a cooperation.
His remarks assume significance as they come weeks after India boycotted the high-profile Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing in which 29 world leaders took part.
India abstained from the Summit to highlight its concerns over the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the pet project of Xi, and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Modi said that the SCO will help in bringing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.
He also thanked SCO countries for granting membership to India. The Prime Minister said India’s SCO membership will certainly take cooperation among member states to new heights.
“The drivers of which will be energy, education, agriculture, defence, minerals, capacity building, development partnership, trade and investment,” he said.
The Prime Minister also called for efforts by the SCO to tackle climate change. Modi said today was a historic turn in the SCO’s journey and India was ready for an active and positive participation in the grouping. PTI