Jaishankar reiterates focus on connectivity, food and energy security at SCO meet | The Financial Express

Jaishankar reiterates focus on connectivity, food and energy security at SCO meet

External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar who represented India in the virtual meeting, alluding to China, said that the sovereignty and territorial integrities of countries should be respected.

Jaishankar reiterates focus on connectivity, food and energy security at SCO meet
The minister in his address reiterated India’s firm commitment towards deepening multilateral cooperation in critical areas of energy and food security, trade and culture, and climate change

India at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of Government stated that connectivity projects in the region should focus on the interests of Central Asian states.

External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar who represented India in the virtual meeting, alluding to China, said that the sovereignty and territorial integrities of countries should be respected.

Connectivity

Though he did not mention any country in his remarks when talking about connectivity, it has been reported that India has for long opposed China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As a major part of this – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – passes through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.  India is one of the few countries which has not signed up for BRI.

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With better connectivity the economic potential of the SCO region will open up as both Iran’s Chabahar port and the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) “could become enablers’’ the minister stated in his address.

Financial Express Online has earlier reported that India has developed a terminal at Chabahar port in Iran and there are plans to integrate this important port with INSTC.  According to reports following the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war this port has been used for trans-shipment of goods from Russia to India.

Lifestyle for Environment

The minister in his address reiterated India’s firm commitment towards deepening multilateral cooperation in critical areas of energy and food security, trade and culture, and climate change. And also talked about the recent launch of the global Mission ‘LIFE’ (Lifestyle for Environment) and its relevance to ensuring energy and food security. This mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently in Gujarat.

Climate Change

Minister Jaishankar highlighted India’s commitment in fighting the challenges of climate change and achievements made in this direction.

Expansion of India-SCO Trade

Highlighting India’s recovery on the economic front post Covid he expressed interest in expanding the trade with the region on the basis of fair market access. According to Jaishankar the total trade with the region is just US$ 141 billion and it has the potential to grow.

India holds Chairship of SCO

Today’s meeting was the first under India’s chairship after it took over the bloc’s rotating presidency following the SCO Summit held in Uzbekistan recently. In 2023 India will host the SCO Summit as well as the G20 Summit.

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In 2021, Jaishankar represented the country in Kazakhstan. The focus of such a meeting is on the trade and economic agenda as well as the approval of the grouping’s annual budget.

Who was present in the meeting?

The meeting that took place on Tuesday firm up the grouping’s trade and economic agenda. Since China is chairing the Council of Heads of Government, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hosted the meeting of the nine members grouping. Also pleasant during the virtual meeting were Observer States, Executive Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), Turkmenistan, Secretary General of the SCO, and other invited guests. The meeting was attended by the nine SCO member states – India, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, China, Iran, and Kazakhstan.

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First published on: 01-11-2022 at 20:48 IST