File Photo of Rajnath Singh
File Photo of Rajnath Singh

SCO Meet |  Fix accountability on those who aid, fund terror activities: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, Apr 28: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday called upon the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states to collectively work towards eliminating terrorism in all its forms and fix accountability on those who aid or fund such activities.

Defence Ministers of China, Russia, Iran, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were present in the SCO meeting here.

Addressing the defence ministers of the SCO countries, Singh asserted that any kind of terrorist act or support to it in any form is a major crime against humanity, and peace and prosperity cannot coexist with this menace.

"If a nation shelters terrorists, it not only poses a threat to others, but for itself too. Radicalisation of youth is a cause of concern not only from the point of view of security, but it is also a major obstacle in the path of socio-economic progress of society. If we want to make the SCO a stronger and more credible international organisation, our top-most priority should be to effectively deal with terrorism," the Defence Minister said.

Rajnath Singh added that India envisions a robust framework of regional cooperation, which mutually respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member states by taking care of their legitimate interests. He asserted that New Delhi strives to further bolster trust and cooperation among the members of the SCO as it believes in maintaining peace and security based on the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

"India has always followed the principle of 'Let us walk together and move forward together'. Every era has a zeitgeist (defining idea). The zeitgeist of the present era is 'win-win cooperation for the great gain,’” he said.

Singh also elaborated on the concept of 'SECURE' (S - Security of citizens, E - Economic development for all, C - Connecting the region, U - Uniting the people, R - Respect for Sovereignty and Integrity, E - Environmental protection) floated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the SCO summit in Qingdao, China in 2018. He stated that every alphabet of the word 'SECURE' reflects India's commitment towards the multi-dimensional welfare of the region.

Drawing the attention of the member states to various dimensions of 'SECURE', Rajnath Singh stated that today a large part of the world is passing through a food crisis. He urged the SCO member countries to ensure food security under an integrated plan.

Singh also touched upon the two defence-related activities launched by India, as the SCO chair, to increase interoperability among member states.

He voiced India's commitment towards defence capacity building of SCO member states through training and co-manufacturing and co-development of items. He stated that as security challenges are not limited to any one country, India is moving forward with a collaborative approach in the field of defence partnership, keeping in mind the shared interests.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Rajnath Singh described the SCO as an evolved and strong regional organisation, underlining that India views it as an important entity to promote defence cooperation among the member states.

At the end of the deliberations, all the SCO member countries signed a protocol, expressing their collective will to make the region secure, peaceful and prosperous. In his closing remarks, Singh called for joint efforts to ensure prosperity in the region while dealing with contemporary challenges.

After the meeting, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane stated that all the member nations reached a consensus on several areas of cooperation, including dealing with terrorism, security of vulnerable populations in various countries as well as HADR. He stated that all member states were unanimous in their statements that terrorism, in all its forms, must be condemned and eliminated. He exuded confidence that many areas identified for cooperation will be acted upon in the times to come and India, as the SCO chair, will lead from the front in ensuring a safe and secure future for the region and the world as a whole.

The Defence Ministers discussed issues of common concern, including issues of regional and international security under the charter of SCO during the meeting, Aramane said.

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