New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday said that India attaches special importance to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in promoting dialogue on multi-dimensional political, security, and economic subjects.
Chairing a meeting of Heads of Departments of SCO member states responsible for Prevention and Elimination of Emergency Situations in New Delhi, the Home Minister said India’s priority as the chair of the SCO is to take forward the SECURE theme articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Qingdao Summit of the grouping in 2018.
SECURE stands for Security, Economic Cooperation, Connectivity, Unity, Respect For Sovereignty and Integrity and Environment Protection.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here quoted the Home Minister as saying that under the leadership of PM Modi, India attaches special importance to the SCO in promoting dialogue on the subject relating to multi-dimensional political, security and economic subjects.
Shah said India attaches special importance to disaster risk reduction and was ready to share its expertise and experience in this field for greater cooperation and mutual trust among the SCO member states.
He said India believes that no hazard was small or big and it does not leave anyone behind.
Shah said India now has more accurate and timely early warning system in place and the country has seen a sea change in the way its early warning systems (EWS) of drought, flood, lightning, heat wave, cold wave, and cyclone have improved.
He said that the forecast not only warns India about the disaster but also predicts the potential impact it is likely to cause.
The Home Minister said that at the time of a natural disaster, it is of great importance how quickly the relief reaches the affected area and this speed reflects the preparedness of the team and the efficiency of their training.
He said that India had been associated with the SCO since 2005 and was playing an important role as an observer country since then.
At the 17th Summit in 2017, India became a full member of the SCO as part of an important step in the process of expansion of this organisation.
Shah said that it was a matter of pride that India was donning the mantle of the chair of the SCO Council of Heads of State for the very first time since becoming a full-fledged member state in 2017.
He said that the SCO would probably be the largest regional organisation in the world at this time, representing 40 percent of the global population, 25 percent of the global GDP and 22 percent of the world’s total land area.
“Today, the SCO has developed into an international organisation and it has provided an excellent platform for harmonising cooperation with all member countries,” the Home Minister said.
He said each and every life, family and their livelihood were priceless and all possible efforts should be made to protect it.
Shah said India’s approach to early warning system was people-centric.
“We want to ensure that our forecasting and warning system is not just scientifically advanced but it is also communicated in a manner that is understandable, usable and actionable by common people,” he said.
The Home Minister said that there was a time when cyclonic storms in India used to cause huge loss of life and property, but, India had made “community empowerment” the basis of its efforts, due to which the damage caused by cyclones had been reduced, which was being appreciated by the entire world today.
He said India had taken several important initiatives of international cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction.
Shah said that the India-led Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) today had 39 members from across the world.
“The CDRI is working with member countries to ensure that all investments in infrastructure is made in a manner that it makes our infrastructure resilient to disasters, thereby securing not just our present but also our future,” he said. “Along with this, CDRI is placing particular emphasis on some of the most vulnerable regions of the world, such as Small Islands Developing States (SIDS). Also, on India’s initiative, a Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction has been constituted at the G20, and the first meeting of this group was held recently in Gandhinagar in Gujarat.”
The home minister said that the ‘Tsunami Early Warning System’ for the Indian Ocean Rim Countries established by the Indian National Centre for Oceanic Information Services (INCOIS) serves not just India but nearly two-dozen other countries.
He said that along with this, India had hosted joint bilateral exercises with SAARC, BIMSTEC, and SCO countries.