The eight members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) should strengthen coordination against terrorism and build it into its framework, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said here. Speaking at the ministerial meeting of the SCO on Wednesday, the minister strongly condemned terrorism and said an anti-terrorism structure should be a part of the organisation of which Pakistan is a member. She said that discussions should continue on a business security architecture for the organisation. On the sidelines of the meeting, Sushma Swaraj also met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
India joined the organisation last June. Its other members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Russia and Pakistan. India would cooperate extensively in developing the SCO as an effective regional platform, and connectivity among the members is a priority for New Delhi but it must built with respect for sovereignty, she said. “We want connectivity to pave the way for cooperation and trust between our societies.” In this context, she mentioned three transportation projects that are relevant to the connectivity goals even though some of it are out of the SCO – the North-South Transport Corridor, the Chabahar Agreement and the Ashgabat Agreement.
The Chabahar Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran allows Indian goods to reach Kabul through Tehran. The trilateral transit could extend to Kazakhstan through Turkmenistan. The Ashgabat Agreement, which India is in the process of joining, is for a transport corridor linking Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. This corridor is to synchronise the North-South corridor to provide a link from India to Europe.