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Sushma Swaraj opposes CPEC, calls for fighting terror at SCO meet

Swaraj called for international cooperation to combat the menace.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Using the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) platform, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday indirectly reiterated India’s opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and identified terrorism as the ‘most overwhelming threat’ to the region.

“India shares the desire of the SCO members for enhanced connectivity. All connectivity initiatives must be based on the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, consultations, good governance, transparency, viability and sustainability,” she said addressing the SCO Heads of Government meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

India has vehemently opposed CPEC on the ground that it runs through the Indian territory in Jammu-Kashmir, which is under Pakistan’s illegal occupation.

Swaraj called for international cooperation to combat the menace.

“As the footprint of terrorism expands, governments must assume their national responsibility and cooperate with each other,” she said. India, the minister said, has actively supported the SCO Qingdao Summit leaders’ ‘Appeal to Youth’ against radicalisation of youth adopted last year.

The Dushanbe meeting is being attended by top leaders of all SCO countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan became members of the grouping last year. Pakistan is being represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi.

On the Afghanistan issue, Swaraj said India was committed to a peace process which was Afghan led, owned and controlled that could help the war-torn country emerge as peaceful, secure, stable, inclusive and economically vibrant nation.

In this context, she welcomed signing of the Protocol of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group on the sidelines of the Qingdao Summit. She also offered to co-host with Afghanistan the next meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, in India.

Talking about economic issues, the Indian minister said, “We have all benefited from globalisation. We must further develop our trade and investment cooperation.”

India, she said, supported an open, stable international trade regime based on centrality of the World Trade Organisation.

Swaraj said India was also determined to work with other together in SCO on environmentally friendly energy alternatives to ensure sustainable development.