‘Isolate and expose’ countries that harbour terrorists: India at SCO summit


Astana: India on Thursday asked the international community to “isolate and expose” those countries that harbour terrorists, provide safe havens and condone terrorism, underlining that if left unchecked, terrorism can become a major threat to regional and global peace, in a veiled jibe at China and its all-weather ally, Pakistan.

Delivering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at the 24th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State here in the Kazakh capital, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who was physically present at the meeting, recalled that one of the original goals of the SCO is to combat terrorism.
“Many of us have had our experiences, often originating beyond our borders. Let us be clear that if left unchecked, it can become a major threat to regional and global peace. Terrorism in any form or manifestation cannot be justified or condoned,” he told the summit, which was attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin among others.
He said that the international community “must isolate and expose those countries that harbour terrorists, provide safe havens and condone terrorism”, in an apparent reference to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China which has often put on hold on proposals in the United Nations to blacklist the Pakistan-based wanted terrorists.
“Cross-border terrorism requires a decisive response and terrorism financing and recruitment must be resolutely countered. We should also take proactive steps to prevent the spread of radicalisation among our youth,” he said, adding that the joint statement issued during India’s Presidency last year on this subject underlines New Delhi’s shared commitment.
Later, Jaishankar delivered Prime Minister Modi’s remarks at the extended format Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State where he spoke about challenges, saying terrorism would surely rank foremost for many of us.
“The truth is that it continues to be used by nations as a tool of destabilisation. We have had our own experiences with cross-border terrorism. Let us be clear that terrorism in any form or manifestation cannot be justified or condoned. Harbouring terrorists must be strongly condemned,” he said, adding that the SCO must never waver in its commitment. “We cannot have double standards in this regard.”
He also said that the SCO extended family shares a commitment to reform the current international order. “This is only possible when those efforts extend to the United Nations and its Security Council. We hope that in the near future, we can develop a strong consensus on the way ahead,” he said.
When it comes to geo-economics, the need of the day is to create multiple, reliable and resilient supply chains, he said, adding that India is open to partnering with others in capacity building, especially nations of the Global South.
Noting that the current global debate is focused on creating the new connectivity linkages that would better serve a rebalanced world, he said if this is to gather serious momentum, it requires the joint efforts of many.
“It must also be respectful of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and be built on the foundation of non-discriminatory trade and transit rights to neighbours,” he said, in an apparent reference to China which is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes with several countries.
China has invested billions in various power projects and road networks in Pakistan under the USD 65 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which is opposed by India as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
He also said that the progress made by India in developing Iran’s Chabahar Port not only holds “great value” to landlocked Central Asian states but also “de-risks” commerce between India and Eurasia.
He described the SCO as a principle-based organisation, whose consensus drives the approach of its member states, and said the grouping occupies a “prominent place in our foreign policy”.
“At this time, it is particularly noteworthy that we are reiterating mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, equality, mutual benefit, non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of force or threat of use of force as a basis for our foreign policies. We have also agreed not to take any measures contrary to the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
He also said that climate change is a prominent concern before the world today and India is working towards achieving a committed reduction in emissions and building climate-resilient infrastructure.
“In this context, during India’s SCO presidency, a Joint Statement on emerging fuels, and a Concept Paper on de-carbonization in the transportation sector were approved,” he added.
During last year’s annual climate conference, Prime Minister Modi said India has already declared to achieve Net Zero by 2070. It plans to reduce emissions intensity by 45 per cent by 2030 and increase the share of non-fossil fuel to 50 per cent.
He also reminded the audience that the SCO needs to make “technology creative” and apply it to the welfare and progress of societies.
“India is among the countries to formulate a National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence and the launch of an AI Mission. Our commitment to ‘AI for All’ is also reflected in working within the SCO framework on a Roadmap on AI cooperation,” he added.
Modi congratulated the Kazakh side for successfully hosting the summit and also conveyed India’s best wishes to China for the next presidency of the SCO.
He also expressed “deepest condolences” for the tragic demise of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and others in the helicopter crash.
With nine member states — India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyz, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – the Beijing-based SCO has emerged as an influential economic and security bloc and one of the largest trans-regional international organisations. Belarus joined as the 10th member.
Kazakhstan is hosting the summit in its capacity as the current chair of the grouping.

LAC must be respected: EAM Jaishankar

Astana: India and China on Thursday agreed to step up efforts to resolve the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh at the earliest even as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) must be respected and ensuring peace along the border is essential.
In talks he held with Wang on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in this Kazakh capital city, Jaishankar reaffirmed India’s persistent view that the relations between the two sides must be based on mutual respect, mutual interest and mutual sensitivity.
The external affairs minister highlighted the need to redouble efforts to achieve “complete disengagement” from the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh and restore peace and tranquillity to remove obstacles towards the return of normalcy in the ties. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two ministers “had an in-depth exchange of views on finding an early resolution of the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh to stabilise and rebuild bilateral relations.”
Jaishankar also underlined the need for fully abiding by the relevant bilateral pacts and protocols reached between the two sides in the past for management of the border.
“Met with CPC Politburo member and FM Wang Yi in Astana this morning. Discussed early resolution of remaining issues in border areas. Agreed to redouble efforts through diplomatic and military channels to that end,” Jaishankar said on ‘X’.
“Respecting the LAC and ensuring peace and tranquility in the border areas is essential. The three mutuals – mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest – will guide our bilateral ties,” he said.
India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
“Both Ministers agreed to continue and step up meetings of the diplomatic and military officials of the two sides to take forward their discussions to resolve the remaining issues at the earliest,” the MEA said.
“To that end, they agreed that the Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) should hold an early meeting,” it said.
It said the two ministers agreed that the “prolongation” of the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side.
“The external affairs minister highlighted the need to redouble efforts to achieve complete disengagement from the remaining areas in eastern Ladakh and restore border peace and tranquillity in order to remove obstacles towards return of normalcy in bilateral relations,” the MEA said.
“He reaffirmed the importance of fully abiding by relevant bilateral agreements, protocols, and understandings reached between the two Governments in the past. The Line of Actual Control must be respected and peace and tranquillity in the border areas always enforced,” it said.
The Jaishankar-Wang talks came amid the dragging border row in eastern Ladakh that entered its fifth year in May.
“The two Ministers also exchanged views on the global situation. The external affairs minister extended to FM Wang Yi India’s support for China’s Presidency of SCO next year,” the MEA said.
According to rough translation of a statement issued in Beijing, Wang said the two sides should view bilateral relations from a strategic height, strengthen communication, properly handle differences, and ensure that China-India relations develop along a healthy and stable track.
“We are willing to follow the series of important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, respect each other, understand each other, trust each other…and explore the correct way for the two major neighbours to get along,” he said.
“We must adhere to positive thinking, on the one hand properly handle and control the situation in the border area, on the other hand actively resume normal exchanges, promote each other and meet each other halfway,” he added.
Stressing that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Wang said both sides have the responsibility and obligation to inherit and carry forward the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and inject new contemporary connotations into them.
“Both China and India are countries in the Global South, and we should work together to oppose unilateral bullying, resist the division of camps, uphold the common interests of developing countries, and make due contributions to regional and world peace and stability,” he added.
The Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a standoff since May 2020 and a full resolution of the border row has not yet been achieved though the two sides have disengaged from a number of friction points.
The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
The two sides have so far held 21 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the standoff.
India has been pressing the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to disengage from the Depsang and Demchok areas.
The two sides held the last round of high-level military talks in February.
Though there was no indication of a breakthrough at the 21st round of talks, both sides agreed to maintain “peace and tranquility” on the ground and continue the communication on the way ahead.

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