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PM Modi talks territorial integrity, terror at SCO meet, sends message to Pakistan, China

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged for coordinated effort among SCO members to fight terrorism and boost connectivity

india Updated: Jun 09, 2017 22:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narendra Modi,SCO,China
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Friday. (PTI photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday used India’s new membership of the SCO to pitch for coordinated efforts to combat terrorism and enhance connectivity without impinging on sovereignty and territorial integrity, indirectly flagging key concerns with Pakistan and China.

In his address at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana, where Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping were part of the audience, Modi hoped India’s entry into the grouping will give new momentum to dealing with terror.

Modi did not name any country but it was clear he was referring to India’s concerns about Pakistan-backed terror groups and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“Terrorism is violation of human rights and basic human values...Whether it is the issue of radicalisation, recruitment of terrorists, their training and financing, unless we take coordinated and strong efforts, it is not possible to find a solution,” he said.

“I have full confidence that the India-SCO cooperation will give a new direction and strength to the fight against terrorism,” he added.

India has maintained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan is the biggest threat to regional peace and security.

Modi also spoke about enhancing connectivity in the region, saying it was the key to more trade and investment. But he made it clear that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be key factors in such cooperation.

“We have extensive cooperation with SCO nations. We want to deepen the focus on connectivity,” he said.

“For connectivity initiatives and for success and approval of the projects, sovereignty and regional integrity must be respected while inclusivity and sustainability are essential,” Modi said.

“Connectivity with SCO countries is our priority. We fully support it. And we want connectivity (to) pave the way for cooperation and trust among our future generations and society.”

His remarks were significant as they came weeks after India boycotted the high-profile Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing in which 29 world leaders took part. India abstained from the meet to highlight its concerns over the $46-billion CPEC, which is part of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative and passes through PoK.

Prime Minister Sharif, who spoke after Modi, said Pakistan is “diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which the flagship of BRI”.

India was admitted to the SCO, seen a counter to the US-led security alliance NATO, as a full member along with Pakistan on Friday.

SCO provides for greater military and counter-terrorism cooperation among its members. Besides India and Pakistan, the SCO has China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its members.

First Published: Jun 09, 2017 15:52 IST