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PM Modi raises pitch on cross-border terrorism at SCO Summit as Pak PM and Chinese President watch

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing the 23rd Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of State

Taking an indirect swipe at Pakistan and China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday slammed “some countries” which use cross-border terrorism as an instrument of their policies and give shelter to terrorists.

Addressing the 23rd Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of State virtually – which also had Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in attendance – PM Modi called for decisive action against terrorism which he said has become a threat to regional and global peace.

“Some countries use cross-border terrorism as an instrument of their policies, provide shelter to terrorists. SCO should not hesitate to criticise such nations. There should be no place for double standards on such serious matters. We need to enhance mutual cooperation in dealing with terror financing as well,” said PM Modi at the meeting which also brought to culmination the first Indian presidency held under the ‘SECURE SCO’ theme.

Last month, after China blocked a joint India-US proposal for listing Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Sajid Mir – the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks – as a globally designated terrorist, India had said that it has “righteous reasons” to believe that something is “genuinely wrong” with the global counter-terrorism architecture.

SCO Summit

The proposal did not get through the Global Listings of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Regime despite several member states co-sponsoring it.

On Tuesday, as the chairman of the SCO, India made it clear that all countries should stand together in the fight against terrorism regardless of its form or manifestation.

The main agenda of India’s SCO Presidency was ‘SECURE’ – an acronym proposed by Prime Minister at the 2018 Summit – that includes security, economy and trade, interconnectedness, unity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and environment.

Opening the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO Member States, PM Modi noted that the SCO has become an important platform for ensuring peace and developing prosperity throughout the Eurasian region.

“As the chairman of the SCO, India has constantly made efforts to stimulate multilateral cooperation, to raise relations to a higher level,” he said.

India, he added, has also established five SCO pillars of cooperation, including startups, traditional medicine, youth empowerment, digital inclusion and Buddhist heritage.

“In a world surrounded by conflicts, tensions and pandemics; food, fuel, and fertilizer crisis is a significant challenge for all nations. We should collectively ponder upon whether we are capable, as an organisation, of fulfilling the aspirations and expectations of our people? Are we equipped to tackle modern-day challenges? Is SCO evolving into an organisation that is fully prepared for the future?” questioned PM Modi.

He also reiterated India’s stance on connectivity initiatives, insisting that they should be based on the principles of transparency, broad participation, local priorities, financial sustainability, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries

“Following Iran’s membership in the SCO, we can work towards maximizing the utilization of the Chabahar Port. The International North-South Transport Corridor can serve as a secure and efficient route for landlocked countries in Central Asia to access the Indian Ocean. We should strive to realise its full potential,” mentioned Prime Minister Modi.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev besides the heads of observer states, including Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, Mongolia President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh and Turkmenistan President Serdar Berdimuhamedov (as a guest of the presiding side) also attended the meeting.

In addition, SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming, heads of the executive bodies of the UN, the CIS, the CSTO, the EAEU, and the CICA also attended the virtual summit.

The platform has assumed significance during the ongoing period of global political turbulence and the growth of destructive threats and challenges.

The SCO comprises India, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan, covering most of Eurasia.

India assumed the rotating Chairmanship of SCO at the Samarkand Summit last September and it will be under its chairmanship that Iran – an observer state till now – will get a full membership of the grouping while the process of Belarus’ admission to the organisation has also been accelerated.