SCO should create trusted supply chains: PM Modi
Says members should give transit rights to each other
Samarkand: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to create trusted and resilient supply chains to offset the disruptions caused by the Ukraine crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic and said the members of the grouping should give each other full transit rights to expand connectivity.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif listening, Modi, addressing the annual summit of the eight-member bloc, said India supports “greater cooperation and mutual trust” among the SCO member states.
Modi’s emphasis on full transit rights comes amid Pakistan’s reluctance to provide such a facility to India for trade with other countries such as Afghanistan.
It is for the first time Modi and Xi came face-to-face since the start of the border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh around 28 months back.
In his remarks, Modi said the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis have caused many disruptions in global supply chains, leaving the world facing “unprecedented” energy and food crises.
The prime minister said the SCO, with almost 30 per cent of the global GDP and 40 per cent of the world’s population, has an important role to play in global economic recovery.
Highlighting India’s growth trajectory, Modi also said that the Indian economy is expected to grow by 7.5 per cent this year, which will be the highest among the world’s largest economies.
“India supports greater cooperation and mutual trust among SCO members. The pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine have caused many disruptions in global supply chains, leaving the world facing unprecedented energy and food crises,” he said.
“The SCO should strive to develop reliable, resilient and diversified supply chains in our region. For this, better connectivity will be required, as well as it will also be important that we all give full rights of transit to each other,” he said.
In his address, Chinese President Xi conveyed China’s congratulations to India for assuming the SCO presidency from Uzbekistan.
“We will, together with other member states, support India during its presidency,” he said.
Referring to the food security crisis across the globe, the prime minister pitched for promotion of the cultivation and consumption of millets.
“The world today faces another major challenge and that is ensuring the food security of our citizens. One possible solution to this problem is to promote the cultivation and consumption of millets,” he said.
“Millets is a superfood that has been grown for thousands of years, not only in SCO countries, but in many parts of the world, and is a traditional, nutritious and low-cost alternative to the food crisis,” Modi said.
The prime minister said the SCO should consider organising a ‘Millet Food Festival’.
Talking about economic cooperation, the prime minister said the role of the SCO has become very important when the whole world is facing the challenges of economic recovery after the pandemic.
“We are making progress on making India a manufacturing hub. India’s young and talented workforce makes us naturally competitive. India’s economy is expected to grow at 7.5 per cent this year, which will be the highest among the world’s major economies,” Modi said.
The prime minister also talked about India’s focus on proper use of technology in its people-centric development model.
“We are supporting innovation in every sector. Today there are over 70,000 start-ups in India, of which over 100 are unicorns. This experience of ours can be of use to many other SCO members as well,” the prime minister said.
“For this purpose, we are ready to share our experience with the member countries of SCO by establishing a new Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation,” he added.
The prime minister said India today is one of the most affordable destinations for medical and wellness tourism in the world.
“The WHO Global Center for Traditional Medicine was inaugurated in Gujarat in April 2022. This will be the WHO’s first and only Global Center for Traditional Medicine,” Modi said.
“We should increase cooperation on traditional medicine among SCO countries. For this, India will take initiative on a new SCO Working Group on Traditional Medicine,” he said.
Following the summit, the leaders signed the Samarkand Declaration and adopted a package of documents.
The SCO Heads of State Council adopted statements for cooperation in areas of climate change, reliable, sustainable and diversified supply chains, and on ensuring global food security and international energy security.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Over the years, it has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations. India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.