The SCO summit is also taking place at a time when India and China are engaged in a tense border standoff for over six months in eastern Ladakh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday raised concerns over attempts to bring in bilateral issues into the agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which he said: “is contrary to the spirit of consensus and cooperation that defines SCO”.
Addressing the virtual annual summit of the 8-member SCO, Modi delivered a message to Pakistan and China whose leaders were in attendance. “India has strong cultural and historical ties with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries. India believes that to enhance connectivity it’s important that we move forward while respecting one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Modi said. Modi’s remarks assume significance in the context of the 3,000-km-long infrastructure project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Russian President Vladimir Putin – chair of SCO — and leaders of four Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan also attended the summit. The SCO summit is also taking place at a time when India and China are engaged in a tense border standoff for over six months in eastern Ladakh.
India has stepped up its defence preparedness and Modi did not lose the opportunity to underline India’s firm commitment towards strengthening connectivity in the region with initiatives like International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port and Ashgabat Agreement.
India is also preparing to host the next regular meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government on November 30, 2020, in a virtual format and has proposed to set up a special working group on innovation and startups and a sub group on traditional medicine within SCO. Modi held out India’s vision of an “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat” in the post-pandemic world that could prove to be a force multiplier for the global economy and the economic progress of the SCO region.
Modi also lauded the Indian pharma industry which has, amidst an unprecedented epidemic, sent essential medicines to more than 150 countries and assured that as the world’s largest vaccine producing country, India will use its vaccine production and distribution capacity to help the whole humanity in fighting this crisis.