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SCO members should give full right to transit to each other: PM Modi

Better regional connectivity is possible only when members grant each other “full transit rights”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit by denying India transit trade access by land to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Referring to. SCO) Council of Heads of State (CHS) here on Friday.

In a speech that was free from reference to India’s regional issues over terrorism with Pakistan and territorial sovereignty with China, Mr Modi called for greater cooperation in the Eurasian region, and pointed to the “unprecedented” energy and food crisis. did. The dual issues of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict. He also focused on manufacturing initiatives that India is set to pilot in the next year, when India chairs the SCO and hosts the summit in mid-2023.

Before the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadir Zaparov, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uzbek President Shaukat Mirziyoyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on September 16, The Council of Heads of SCO member states at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 2022.  Photo: Sputnik via Reuters

Before the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadir Zaparov, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uzbek President Shaukat Mirziyoyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on September 16, The Council of Heads of SCO member states at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 2022. Photo: Sputnik via Reuters

“SCO has an important role to play in developing a reliable, resilient and diverse supply chain. For this better connectivity is necessary, but at the same time it is also necessary that we give each other full rights of transit. With Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif since the 2020 LAC standoff.

While Mr. Modi did not exchange words with Mr. Sharif or Mr. Xi in publicly broadcast sessions, he stood next to Mr. Xi, host Uzbek President Mirziyoyev and Russian President Putin during a photo-op for the SCO. Were. Supervisor and communication partner. Later, all the leaders attended a lunch hosted by Mr. Mirziyoyev, which was closed to the media.

Speaking at the SCO meeting, Mr. Xi congratulated India for assuming the chairmanship of the grouping and promised “China’s support” to India in hosting the event next year. Importantly, both Mr. Xi and Mr. Sharif noted the issue of terrorism, and the need to collectively fight “threats” and “monsters”.

Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that the issue of terrorism was also raised by Prime Minister Modi during the “restricted” meeting between the SCO leaders, and that all SCO countries would be a consolidated group of terrorist entities and individuals in their respective countries. Agreed to prepare the list. ,

In his speech, Mr Sharif, who for the most part focused on the flood situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, responded to Mr Modi’s remarks, calling for a more “structured” SCO approach to connectivity in the region. That “if there is connectivity, transit rights will come automatically. India has developed Iran’s Chabahar port as an alternative to Pakistan for the land route to Central Asia and Russia. Currently, delays by Pakistan mean That India’s plan to send 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan by land route has also not been completed in several months, as the last tranche of 10,000 metric tonnes has not been allowed to be transported.

The announcement of the SCO summit ended with the expansion of the grouping of eight countries, including the four Central Asian states, China, Russia, India and Pakistan, to include Iran as a full member, as President Ibrahim Raisi agreed to take membership. signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Among the other membership hopes are Belarus, indicating that the group will have a significant number of countries facing Western sanctions in the future. The group also adopted more than 40 documents, including an agreement on cooperation and good neighbourhoods, and a joint statement on climate change.

Mr Modi said other problems the world is facing include ensuring “food security”, an issue Mr Mirziyoyev mentioned in his inaugural address, pointing out that the SCO countries are the world’s grain exporters. make up the majority of countries.

Mr Modi said in his speech, “SCO member countries contribute about 30% of global GDP, and 40% of the world’s population also lives in SCO countries,” he said, adding that a possible solution to this problem is “farming and consumption” was to be promoted. of millet”. Shri Modi said that India is being developed as a “manufacturing hub” and will be one of the fastest growing economies, and shared the country’s experience in innovations, start-ups, health tourism and traditional medicine. Offered.

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