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India rules out joining BRI; PM says united approach needed to secure region

Press Trust of India  |  Qingdao (China) 

In a clear message of India's continued opposition to China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, today said mega connectivity projects must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries, asserting that would support initiatives which ensure inclusivity.

In an address at the annual summit of the Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in this port city, the 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.

Referring to the threat of terrorism, Modi talked about the "unfortunate" example of the effects of terrorism and extremism in and hoped that the bold steps taken by its will be respected by all the players in the region.

It was the responsibility of the bloc to ensure that the reasons for which Afghanistan's unity, integrity and sovereignty were affected in the past are not repeated, he said, adding will play an important role in the SCO Contact group on

Officials said almost all SCO leaders including Russian and Chinese talked about the dangers of terrorism and extremism and resolved to contain it with a concrete action plan.

Talking about the importance of corridors, 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 and 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.

has been severely critical of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the pet project of Xi, as the USD 50 billion Economic Corridor, which is part of the BRI, passes through Pakistan-occupied (PoK). says it cannot accept a project that ignores its core concern on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Except India, all other member nations of the SCO including Russia, and have been supporting China's BRI.

Prime Minister Modi also said that the history of the region carries a clear message that connectivity does not only mean physical connectivity and that the human aspect relating to it is also important.

He said priority for people-to-people contact and exchange of ideas should be given due priority. He added that India welcomes the concept of "open doors".

The International NorthSouth Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and

The 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.

In his address, Pakistani President whole-heartedly supported the BRI and said the China-Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the BRI, has boosted Pakistan's economy.

It is for the first time the Indian prime minister attended the SCO summit after India along with Pakistan became a full-fledged members of the grouping, jointly dominated by and

The officials said India wants stabilisation of the and the issue figured during deliberations at the summit.

The SCO currently has eight member countries which represents around 42 per cent of the world's population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.

Modi said India would like to extend all cooperation to the SCO and that the bloc gives India immense opportunities to enhance friendship with resource-rich Central Asian nations.

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.

He also announced that India will host an SCO and a comprehensive exhibition on Buddhist heritage.

Modi also complimented China's initiative to organise an SCO film festival and SCO world heritage exhibition.

In his address, Chinese President announced offering a 30 billion yuan (USD 4.7 billion) loan to SCO for joint projects.

The SCO was founded at a summit in in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, and India and Pakistan became its members last year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 10 2018. 20:55 IST