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India welcomes regional connectivity respecting ‘sovereignty, territorial integrity’: Sushma Swaraj at SCO meet

Sushma Swaraj said that India is open to regional connectivity initiatives that are “inclusive, sustainable, transparent and respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity”

india Updated: May 22, 2019 13:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sushma Swaraj,SCO meet,India
The meeting will review the preparations for the forthcoming SCO Summit in Bishkek on June 13-14 .(Reuters File Photo)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday India is open to regional connectivity initiatives that are “inclusive, sustainable, transparent and respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity” during the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Kyrgyzstan.

“India’s commitment to regional connectivity is evident from our involvement in International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port, Ashgabat Agreement and India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway,” Sushma Swaraj said at the meeting of the grouping of Central Asian Republics led by China and Russia, according to news agency ANI.

“We have also operationalised air freight corridors between Kabul and Kandahar and New Delhi and Mumbai in 2017. We welcome regional connectivity initiatives that are inclusive, sustainable, transparent and respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.

The external affairs minister also condoled the death of more than 250 people in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

“Our heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka, who have recently witnessed the ghastly act of terrorism. Our wounds of Pulwama attack were still raw and news from the neighbourhood has made us more determined to fight firmly resolutely against this menace,” she was quoted as saying by ANI.

Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is also attending the meeting of foreign ministers but Indian officials have ruled out the possibility of a bilateral meeting.

The two-day meeting will be the second such gathering of foreign ministers of the member countries that India is attending as a full member of the SCO. India was admitted as a full member of SCO in 2017. Sushma Swaraj had attended the last CFM meeting in Beijing in April 2018.

Swaraj’s visit comes a month after Nirmala Sitharaman’s trip to Bishkek to attend SCO defence ministers’ conclave to boost security cooperation among the members of the grouping.

The meeting will review the preparations for the forthcoming SCO Summit in Bishkek on June 13-14 and also exchange views on topical issues of international and regional importance.

First Published: May 22, 2019 13:36 IST