India / Terrorism most important challenge faced by region: Naidu at SCO meet

Zoom News : Dec 01, 2020, 08:56 AM
New Delhi: India on Monday said terrorism is the region’s biggest challenge and sought the elimination of this threat to enable it realise its true potential, including in the economic sphere.

“”We are particularly concerned over states that leverage terrorism as an instrument of state policy. The most important challenge faced by us is terrorism, particularly cross-border terrorism,’’ said Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu while chairing the virtual meet of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) here on Monday.

“We are against states that use terrorism as an instrument of state policy...We need to create conditions for stability and economic sustainability,’’ he added.

Parts of several SCO countries are in an “arc of radicalism’’ stretching from Pakistan to the Caucasus running through several Central Asian countries.  

The Vice-President’s observations seemed to hint at Pakistan but MEA’s Secretary (West) Vikas Swarup said at a media briefing that the SCO’s charter prohibits the raising of bilateral issues. “We do not raise bilateral issues and expect others to do the same,’’ he said.

Naidu also expressed similar sentiments in his opening address. “It is unfortunate to note that deliberate attempts have been made to bring bilateral issues in the SCO forum. Such acts are counterproductive. We should respect each others’ territorial integrity and sovereignty.’’

His reference was to the Pakistani representative putting up a map behind him at the SCO NSA’s virtual summit that inaccurately depicted Kashmir. NSA Ajit Doval had then walked out of the virtual meeting

India is hosting a SCO CHG summit for the first time since it became a full member in 2017. The highest body is the SCO Heads of State summit whose last virtual meeting, chaired by Vladimir Putin from Moscow, was addressed among others by PM Modi, Imran Khan and Xi Jinping.

Over 60 per cent of the vaccines for the global immunisation program are being manufactured in India. This production and delivery capacity will be used to help all the countries in fighting this crisis, assured Naidu.

He also sought fair and transparent trade as the world recovers from the pandemic-induced disruption.

India, as chair of SCO CHG, has proposed a special working group on start-ups and innovations.

India had invited Turkmenistan as a Special Guest. It is the only Central Asian country that has stayed out of SCO.

India, during its chairmanship, focused on creating three new pillars of cooperation: startups and innovation, science and technology and traditional medicine, said Swarup.

Naidu also launched the first SCO online exhibition on shared Buddhist heritage which was curated by National Museum, New Delhi, in collaboration with SCO member countries.