India nudges SCO for fight against terrorism


Photo credit Twitter Rajnath Singh

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, August 24: In the run up to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, Union Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh made a strong call for the group to focus on its principal agenda to fight against terrorism.

Singh on Wednesday stated that all the SCO member countries should unitedly fight against terrorism and eliminate the menace in all its forms.

Addressing the SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Singh asserted that terrorism in any form, including cross-border, committed by anyone and for whatever purpose, is a crime against humanity.

“Terrorism is one of the most serious challenges to global peace and security. India reiterates its resolve to fight all forms of terrorism and make the region peaceful, secure and stable. We seek to develop joint institutional capabilities with the SCO member states, which, while respecting the sensitivities of each country, create the spirit of cooperation among individuals, societies and nations,” Singh added.

Singh’s address to the SCO meeting came in a series of a high profile visit, which included the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, who had also sought to bring terrorism as the main agenda of the grouping.

India is seeking the collective efforts of the SCO to eliminate terrorism and collaborate in weeding out terror outfits from Afghanistan.

Singh proposed to host a workshop in India in 2023 on the theme ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief – Risk mitigation and Disaster Resilient Infrastructure’ for the Defence Ministries of SCO Member States.

He also suggested an annual seminar on ‘Topic of Interest’ among the defence think tanks of SCO countries.

“We propose to organise the first such defence think tank seminar in India in 2023,” he added.

Singh voiced India’s full support to a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan, while emphasising to respect its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, national unity and non-interference in internal affairs.

He urged all parties to encourage Afghanistan authorities to achieve national reconciliation through dialogue and negotiation and establish a broad-based, inclusive and representative political structure in the country.

Singh also underlined the importance of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions in this regard.

“The Afghan territory must not be used to intimidate or attack any country by providing safe havens and training to terrorists and supporting their activities through financial assistance,” said Singh, while stressing on the need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and safeguard their fundamental rights.

Expressing India’s concern on the situation in Ukraine, Singh stated that New Delhi supports talks between Russia and Ukraine to resolve this crisis.

“India is concerned about the humanitarian crisis in-and-around Ukraine. We have extended our support for the efforts of the UN Secretary General, UN agencies and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide humanitarian assistance,” he added.

Singh also threw light on India’s age-old ties with SCO countries, asserting that the Member States of the Organisation are common stakeholders in the progress and prosperity of the region.

“India accords high priority to SCO because of its unwavering belief in multilateralism. There is a need to strengthen ties with SCO member states bilaterally and within the framework of the organisation on the basis of equality, respect and mutual understanding,” he said.

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