Amid border tensions with China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called upon all member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to respect one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In an oblique reference to Pakistan’s design to internationalise the Kashmir issue, Modi also criticised attempts to bring bilateral issues on the SCO’s table.
“This is unfortunate that unnecessary efforts are being made to bring bilateral issues on the agenda of SCO, which violate the charter of the organisation and the Shanghai spirit,” the Prime Minister said, addressing the annual summit via video-conferencing.
Referring to India’s participation in strengthening connectivity among nations, Modi said, “India believes that to enhance connectivity, it is important that we move forward while respecting one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The remarks by Modi at a virtual summit of the eight-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) came in the backdrop of the Sino-India border row in eastern Ladakh, as also Islamabad’s attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue and indulge in cross-border terrorism against India.
The Prime Minister delivered the message in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who were among the heads of governments attending the summit, chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is the first time since the border standoff that Modi and Xi were on the same platform.
Modi also called for bringing in holistic change in the United Nations to deliver amid Covid-19 and economic and social stress faced by the countries. He favoured “reformed multilateralism”, which represents global realities and discusses contemporary challenges and human welfare.
“We expect that SCO members would support us in this endeavour of ours,” the Prime Minister said.
He said India’s pharmaceutical industry has sent essential medicines to more than 150 countries in these trying times against Covid-19. The Prime Minister added that India will help humankind to fight against Covid-19 by producing the vaccine and distributing it.