PRIME Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani President Mammon Hussain on Saturday exchanged pleasantries after a press conference by the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) held in Qingdao. The two leaders shook hands and exchanged pleasantries at the end of the media briefing which was addressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. China is the host and chair of the SCO. Modi and Hussain were among the leaders who attended the media briefing after the conclusion of 18th SCO summit where India and Pakistan participated as full-fledged members for the first time.
The Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has witnessing escalation of hostilities. India has been raising the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in various multilateral forums with an aim to build pressure on Islamabad to dismantle the terror infrastructure operating from that country. On the sideline of the SCO PM Modi had bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and some other SCOM leaders. Held nearly half a dozen bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries. However, there was no bilateral meeting between Modi and Hussain. In his address at the summit, Modi, while referring to situation in Afghanistan, talked about challenge of terrorism and its effects. President Hussain exuded confidence that the coming general elections in his country will further bolster economic stability in Pakistan. He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, has boosted Pakistan’s economy. India has been strongly opposing the CPEC as it goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. PM Modi said mega connectivity projects must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries and assured India’s full support to initiatives which ensures inclusivity.
In an address at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in this port city, the Prime Minister also coined an acronym SECURE which he explained: ‘S’ for security for citizens, ‘E’ for economic development, ‘C’ for connectivity in the region, ‘U’ for unity, ‘R’ for respect of sovereignty and integrity and ‘E’ for environment protection. Prime Minister Modi talked about “unfortunate example” of the effects of terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan and hoped that the bold steps taken by its President Ashraf Ghani will be respected by all the players in the region. Modi, in presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, said India’s commitment to connectivity projects is reflected in its involvement in International North South Corridor project, development of the Chabahar port and Ashgabat agreement.”Connectivity with the neighbouring countries is India’s priority. We welcome the connectivity projects which are sustainable and efficient and which respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries,” he said.
The International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
The Ashgabat agreement is a transport agreement among several Gulf and Central Asian countries which is aimed at creating a transit corridor to spur trade and investment. India has been supporting the project.”We have again reached a stage where physical and digital connectivity is changing the definition of geography. Therefore, connectivity with our neighbourhood & in the SCO region is our priority,” Modi said. He also suggested that the SCO members should set some goals and form a small committee to prepare a roadmap to achieve them by the bloc’s 25th summit.”We can achieve new heights of success through a time bound framework,” he said.”The SCO Summit in Qingdao was marked by extensive and fruitful deliberations. I had excellent meetings with various world leaders as well,” he tweeted. The Prime Minister also announced that India will host an SCO food festival and a comprehensive exhibition on Buddhist heritage. Talking about opportunities in the tourism sector, Modi said out of the total inflow of foreign tourists to India, only 6 per cent is from SCO countries and it can be doubled. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced offering a 30 billion yuan (USD 4.7 billion) loan to SCO for joint projects. The Prime Minister arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit to attend the SCO summit. It is his second visit to China in little over five weeks after he travelled to Wuhan in April end for an informal summit with President Xi. The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became its members last year. Chinese President has accepted the invite extended by PM Modi to visit India.