NEW DELHI :
India on Wednesday urged the China and Russia led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to jointly identify new ways to sustain economic growth battered by lockdowns triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a virtual conference of the SCO foreign ministers’ meet, Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar said the covid-19 pandemic had resulted in the disruption of production networks and supply chains" across the globe.
“India is committed to work towards creation of a favorable environment for mutually beneficial trade-economic cooperation among the SCO Members," an Indian foreign ministry statement quoted the minister as saying.
“Due to covid-19, we have all seen any prospect of growth evaporate before our very eyes. For a society like India, it means that many will not come out of poverty for no fault of theirs," the minister said, adding that many Indians had “little understanding and even less control over why this happened."
“It is pertinent for SCO members to jointly identify new ways and means to sustain economic growth," he said.
The video conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of SCO Member States was convened by the current Chair, Russia. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, chaired the meeting that was attended by Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Chingiz Aidarbekov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan and Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan. Secretary General of SCO Vladimir Norov also attended the meeting.
Jaishankar also slammed Pakistan for its role in promoting terrorism without naming the country directly. “Even as the world fights covid-19, some are busy spreading other deadly viruses, such as terrorism. Fake news and doctored videos are used to divide communities and countries," the minister said leaving no one in any doubt that this was a reference to Pakistan. The comments come against the backdrop of an uptick in violence in Jammu and Kashmir with five Indian elite army soldiers killed after intercepting terrorists infiltrating into India. An Indian army colonel and a major besides two soldiers and a Jammu and Kashmir police personnel were killed in another incident in Kupwara. Two terrorists were also killed in the second incident. India says Pakistan infiltrates terrorists into India, a charge Pakistan denies though it accepts that it extends “moral, political and diplomatic support" to the “freedom movement" in Kashmir.