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SCO def ministers’ meet- Need to root out terrorism collectively, fix accountability on its supporters: Rajnath Singh 

SCO def ministers’ meet- Need to root out terrorism collectively, fix accountability on its supporters: Rajnath Singh 
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New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday called upon the SCO member nations to fix accountability on supporters of terrorism and pitched for a framework of regional cooperation that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries in the grouping, in comments seen as a veiled reference to Pakistan and a message to China respectively.

With Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu listening, Singh, who chaired a conclave of defence ministers of the SCO countries, said India envisions a robust framework of regional cooperation which mutually respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member states by taking care of their legitimate interests.

New Delhi strives to further bolster “trust and cooperation” among the members of the grouping as it believes in maintaining peace and security based on the provisions of the UN charter, he said.

Singh’s comments referring to the need for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member states under a regional framework for cooperation came amid the three-year border row between India and China.

The Pakistani defence minister did not participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conclave and Special Assistant to Pakistan prime minister on defence affairs Malik Ahmed Khan joined the deliberations virtually.

Highlighting the threat of terrorism, Singh called upon SCO nations to collectively work towards eliminating it in all its forms and fix accountability on its supporters.

Any kind of terrorist act or support to it in any form is a major crime against humanity and peace and prosperity cannot coexist with this menace, Singh asserted while stressing the need to contain terrorism effectively.

“If a nation shelters terrorists, it not only poses a threat to others but to itself too. The radicalisation of youth is a cause of concern not only from the point of view of security, but it is also a major obstacle in the path of socio-economic progress of society,” Singh said.

“If we want to make the SCO a stronger and more credible international organisation, our topmost priority should be to effectively deal with terrorism,” he added.

Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane told reporters that all the member nations arrived at a consensus on several areas of cooperation, including dealing with terrorism, and the security of vulnerable populations in various countries.

He stated that all member states were unanimous in their statements that terrorism, in all its forms, must be condemned and eliminated.

Sharing his insights on the vision to ensure collective prosperity, Singh, in his address, called for concerted efforts by the SCO member states so that the region, with limitless possibilities in today’s multilateral world, shifts to the mindset of ‘great gain from win-win paradigm’ from ‘great game of zero-sum, win-lose paradigm’.

“India has always followed the principle of ‘Let us walk together and move forward together’. Every era has a zeitgeist (defining idea). The zeitgeist of the present era is ‘win-win cooperation for the great gain’,” he said.

At the end of the deliberations, all the SCO member countries signed a protocol, expressing their collective will to make the region secure, peaceful and prosperous.

Singh also voiced India’s commitment towards defence capacity building of SCO member states through training and co-manufacturing and co-development of items.

He stated that as security challenges are not limited to any one country, India is moving forward with a collaborative approach in the field of defence partnership, keeping in mind the shared interests.

The defence minister also highlighted the concept of ‘SECURE’ floated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the SCO summit in China in 2018.

He said that every alphabet of the word ‘SECURE’ reflects India’s commitment towards the multi-dimensional welfare of the region.

Elaborating on it he said S stands for security of citizens, E for economic development for all, C for connecting the region, U for uniting the people, R for respect for sovereignty and Integrity and E stands for environmental protection.

In his address, Singh said that today a large part of the world is passing through a food crisis and urged the SCO member countries to ensure food security under an integrated plan.

This will establish SCO as a role model for the whole world, he said adding energy security should be a part of the common strategy.

Singh also touched upon defence-related activities launched by India, as the SCO chair, to increase interoperability among member states.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Singh described the SCO as an evolved and strong regional organisation, underlining that India views it as an important entity to promote defence cooperation among member states.

He called for a secure, stable and prosperous region that helps in improving the quality of life of the people of each member nation.

In his closing remarks, Rajnath Singh called for joint efforts to ensure prosperity in the region while dealing with contemporary challenges.

He stressed the need to constantly make the SCO stronger and a more vibrant and resilient organisation in line with changing times.

“It is our moral responsibility to start a new journey of development in the region through mutual cooperation, harmony and respect,” he said.

India hosted the meeting in its capacity as chair of the grouping.

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.


Press Trust of India

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