India today called for enhanced connectivity and unimpeded trade among SCO member states with due respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity besides deepening cooperation to fight terrorism and extremism. Speaking at the flag raising ceremony of India and Pakistan at the headquarters of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) here, Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale highlighted India’s sovereignty concerns without directly referring to USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“We support enhanced connectivity and unimpeded trade in the SCO region and believe that initiatives should be pursued in an inclusive and sustainable manner with due respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all members,” he said. He said India would also like to deepen practical cooperation in its fight against terrorism and extremism.
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The envoy also offered India’s readiness to share its expertise in a host of areas including space and IT. “We are ready to share our expertise with fellow SCO members in areas like IT, Space, renewable energy, agriculture, banking and human resource development,” he said. “With India’s joining, SCO now represents 20 per cent of the world’s GDP, 22 per cent of the area, 42 per cent of the world’s population. Stability and progress of the SCO will be beneficial to the region and the world at large. India stands ready to contribute to further enhancing the stature and influence of the SCO,” he said.
“Together with other members, we are ready to harvest new opportunities to realise the full potential of our mutually beneficial cooperation,” he said. He offered India’s full support to China for successful and productive Presidency of the SCO. China took over as the rotating Presidency of the organisation from Kazakhstan. Indian and Pakistani flags were formally raised at the SCO headquarters today. Later, Gokhale along with Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Assistant Foreign Minister of China Kong Xuanyou and SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov beat a huge drum representing Shanghai spirit.
Terming the entry of Pakistan and India into the SCO as a historic day, Khalid said it is beginning of a new journey for Pakistan. “This is a moment of fulfilment, of accomplishment, and of success. It will remind us in future that it was on this day that we had pledged together to work for a shared vision of common development,” he said. Pakistan will work to uphold the Shanghai Spirit and the SCO Charter to promote peace and stability in the region, further harness the potential of SCO for regional security, connectivity and economic integration and develop people to people contacts and cultural interaction, he said. “Let us all pledge on this day that we will leave no stone unturned in the attainment of greater good of our people through cooperation and understanding as SCO family,” he said.