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'From tackling terrorism to expanding mutual cooperation': Top 10 takeaways from SCO Summit 2023

In an apparent attack on Pakistan and China, PM Modi underscored the threat of terrorism to regional and global peace in his virtual address. "Some countries use cross-border terrorism as an instrument of their policies and give shelter to terrorists," he said.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee New Delhi Updated on: July 05, 2023 13:49 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosting the 23rd Summit of SCO
Image Source : PTI Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosting the 23rd Summit of SCO Council of Heads of State on Tuesday.

India at SCO 2023: The 23rd Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State took place on Tuesday under India's chairship. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Russian leader Vladimir Putin among other leaders of SCO member states in a virtual meeting.

Additionally, Iran, Belarus, and Mongolia have also been invited to participate as observer states. Turkmenistan has also been invited as the guest of the Chair, as is tradition for the SCO. 

India assumed the rotating chairmanship of the SCO at the Samarkand Summit in September 2022. The theme under India's chairship is SCO-SECURE. The acronym "SECURE," coined by PM Modi at the 2018 SCO Qingdao Summit, inspired India's SCO chairship theme. Its initials stand for S: Security, E: Economic development, C: Connectivity, U: Unity, R: Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, E: Environmental protection. 

Here are 10 highlights of the SCO Summit held virtually yesterday.

  1. In an apparent attack on Pakistan and China, PM Modi underscored the threat of terrorism to regional and global peace in his virtual address. "Some countries use cross-border terrorism as an instrument of their policies and give shelter to terrorists," he said adding that the SCO should not hesitate to criticise such countries and "there should be no double standards on terrorism."
  2. Speaking on the security situation in Afghanistan, PM Modi said that it has had a "direct impact on the security of all of us." He also asserted that the Afghan territory should not be used to destabilise neighbouring countries or encourage extremist ideologies. He also underscored India's contribution in social and economic development in Afghanistan.
  3. During his address, the Prime Minister also highlighted that the SCO has emerged as a crucial platform for peace, prosperity and development in Eurasia in the last two decades. "We do not see the SCO as an extended neighbourhood, but rather as an extended family. Security, economic development, connectivity, unity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and environmental protection are the pillars of our vision for SCO," he said.
  4. PM Modi also pitched for sharing India's AI-based language platform, Bhashini, with SCO member countries to remove language barriers within the international grouping. "We would be happy to share India's AI-based language platform, Bhashini, with everyone to remove language barriers within the SCO. This can serve as an example of digital technology for inclusive growth," he said.
  5. After the Summit, the SCO leaders adopted the New Delhi Declaration and two thematic joint statements - one on cooperation in countering the radicalisation leading to separatism, extremism and terrorism and the second one on cooperation in the field of digital transformation, according to Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra.
  6. The “New Delhi declaration” coined by the Indian government was proposed at the SCO summit to comabt the threat of against terrorism. It also proposed four other joint statements on de-radicalisation, sustainable lifestyle to tackle climate change, production of millets and digital transformation. The declaration was supported by Russian President Putin.
  7. The Prime Minister further said to harness the talent of the youth from SCO countries, several new platforms such as the Young Scientist Conclave, Authors Conclave, Startup Forum, and Youth Council have been organized. These platforms aim to channel the potential of SCO's youth and provide them with meaningful opportunities, he added. 
  8. India welcomed Iran's inclusion in the SCO and said that both countries can work to better utilise the Chabahar port for bolstering trade and connectivity. He said that the International North-Sout Transport Corridor can be used for improving connectivity between Central Asia's landlocked countries and the Indian Ocean.
  9. While supporting reform and modernisation of SCO, PM Modi also highlighted the crises of food, fuel and fertilisers, which are becoming major challenges for all countries. "Let us think together whether we as an organisation are capable of meeting the expectations and aspirations of our people. Are we able to meet the modern challenges?" he asked.
  10. India remained the sole country to refrain from supporting China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). During the summit, the Prime Minister said that while strong connectivity is crucial for development in any country, it is important to uphold the basic principles of the SCO charter that respects sovereignty of the bloc's member states.

ALSO READ | PM Modi's veiled attack on China, Pakistan over cross-border terrorism at SCO meet 2023: Why is it important?

Apart from this, Putin also underlined the need for counter-terrorism and counter-radicalism during the virtual summit. He thanked PM Modi for organising the summit. "We will continue to strengthen ties with SCO member states," added the Russian President.

PM Modi's remarks towards cross-border terrorism came at a crucial juncture where Pakistan has been repeatedly called out for fuelling cross-border terrorism and harbouring terrorists on their territory, while China is preventing global sanctions against such terrorists. Last month, China blocked a proposal at the United Nations proposed by India and the US to designate the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack accused Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Sajjid Mir as a global terrorist.

The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations. The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

(with PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | SCO Summit 2023: What is 'New Delhi Declaration' adopted by member nations?

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