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Respect sovereignty & territorial integrity: Modi’s message to China, Pak at SCO summit

India, he said, strongly believed in peace, security and prosperity and has always opposed terrorism, illegal arms smuggling, drugs and money laundering. India has remained firm in its commitment to work as per the principles laid down in the SCO Charter, he added.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

In a stern message to China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to respect one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and, in a veiled reference to Pakistan, regretted that bilateral issues were being unnecessarily brought into the SCO agenda.

In his speech at the eight member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, held virtually, Modi said, “India has strong cultural and historical ties with SCO countries… India believes that to enhance connectivity it is important that we move forward while respecting one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. In an oblique reference to Pakistan raising the Kashmir issue in the past meetings, Modi said, “It is unfortunate that there are unnecessary attempts to bring bilateral issues in the SCO agenda, which is in violation of SCO Charter and Shanghai spirit.”

India, he said, strongly believed in peace, security and prosperity and has always opposed terrorism, illegal arms smuggling, drugs and money laundering. India has remained firm in its commitment to work as per the principles laid down in the SCO Charter, he added. Modi also called for “reformed multilateralism” to meet the present day challenges facing the global community.

This was the first time since the Sino-India border row in eastern Ladakh began in early May that Modi faced, albeit virtually, Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of four central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the Summit. Putin chaired the summit.

“India believes that to enhance connectivity, it is important that we move forward by following the core principle of respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Modi said while referring to New Delhi’s involvement in International North South Corridor project, development of the Chabahar port and Ashgabat agreement.

The International NorthSouth Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

Ashgabat agreement is a transport agreement among several Gulf and Central Asian countries which is aimed at creating a transit corridor to spur trade and investment. India has been supporting the project.

In mid-September, India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval walked out of a virtual meeting of top security officials of the SCO member states after the Pakistani representative projected a map that inaccurately depicted Kashmir.

In his address, Modi also delved into a number of key issues like the threat of terrorism, long-pending reform of the United Nations and the need for concerted efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as its adverse impact on global economy.

“India strongly believes in peace, security and prosperity, and we have always voiced opposition to terrorism, illegal arms smuggling, drugs and money laundering,” Modi said.

In this difficult time of unprecedented epidemic, India’s pharma industry sent essential medicines to over 150 countries, he said.

“India strongly believes that a combination of economic multilateralism and national capacity building can help the countries including in the SCO region recover from the economic losses caused by the pandemic,” Modi said.

I am confident that a self-reliant India will prove to be a force multiplier for the world economy and will trigger a momentum for economic development of the SCO countries,” he said.

The Prime Minister also talked about India hosting a summit of the council of heads of government of the SCO on 30 November in the virtual format, and said an elaborate agenda is being prepared focussing on economic issues.

The summit will culminate with the release of a Moscow Declaration which will reflect broad agenda of the bloc for one year, sources said. Separate documents on digital economy and Covid-19 may also be issued.