In an indirect reference to the Chinese infrastructure projects in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to respect “territorial integrity” and “sovereignty”.
“To further deepen connectivity network (among the SCO members), it is necessary to respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Mr. Modi said, reminding that India has traditionally supported infrastructure and connectivity development projects in the SCO region. He named the Chabahar port and the North South Corridor among the projects that India has supported.
Tuesday’s 20th Summit of SCO Heads of State is important as it brought President Xi Jinping of China and Mr. Modi together in the virtual format even as both sides are caught in the high tension confrontation in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
President Xi also hinted at the difficulties among members and said differences should be resolved through dialogue. “We need to deepen solidarity and mutual trust and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations,” he said in his remarks which resonated with the backdrop of the LAC confrontation .
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Addressing the meeting, Mr Modi said bringing changes in the global governance will be the focus of India as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council next year.
“In our civilisation, it is said that parivartanmeva sthiramasti (change is the only constant). From 2021 India will take part in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. As a member of UNSC our attention will be on changing the global rules of governance,” said Mr. Modi addressing the summit which was held in virtual mode.
Stating that the United Nations has failed to deliver on the vision of the organisation, Mr Modi said the global body should address the immediate needs of the world struggling with the fallout of the pandemic and the economic downturn.
“We hope to get support of the SCO members in attaining a reformed multilateralism which will reflect the global realities of the twenty-first century and which will meet the expectations of all the stakeholders of the world,” Mr Modi said.
The Prime Minister also announced that in 2021, the National Museum of India will hold an exhibition on the Buddhist heritage of the SCO countries and India will host a food festival reflecting the culinary traditions of the SCO region.
Mr Modi reiterated India's aspiration for peace in the region and he highlighted the challenges posed by the smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money laundering.