Modi delivers stern message to China at SCO summit

Need to respect sovereignty, territorial integrity

NEW DELHI/BEIJING, Nov 10: Coming face-to-face with Chinese president Xi Jinping, albeit virtually, for the first time since the Sino-India border row began in early May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday delivered a stern message during his address at the SCO summit that there should be respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity among the nations.
In his remarks during the virtual summit, Modi also hit out at those making repeated attempts to “unnecessarily” bring bilateral issues to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in violation of the bloc’s foundational principles, in an oblique reference to Pakistan raising the Kashmir issue in the past meetings of the eight-nation grouping.
“India believes that to enhance connectivity, it is important that we move forward by following the core principle of respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Modi said while referring to New Delhi’s involvement in International North South Corridor project, development of the Chabahar port and Ashgabat agreement.
The Prime Minister’s remarks came in the backdrop of the Sino-India border row in eastern Ladakh and China’s contentious Belt and Road connectivity project, as also Pakistan’s support to cross-border terrorism against India.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top leaders of the influential grouping attended the summit.
On his part, Xi, without referring to any country or specific issue, said members of the SCO should deepen mutual trust and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations.
The Chinese president said that history has proved, and will continue to prove that good, neighbourly friendship will go beyond a beggar-thy-neighbour approach, mutually beneficial cooperation will take over the zero-sum game and multilateralism will prevail over unilateralism.
“We need to deepen solidarity and mutual trust and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations,” Xi said.
In his address, Khan opposed “illegal and unilateral” actions by any country to change the status of disputed regions in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and even called for the implementation of the UN resolutions to resolve outstanding issues and create an environment for peace and stability. The Pakistan prime minister did not name any country.
In his address, Modi also emphasised on the need to follow the core principles of the SCO.
“India has always been resolute in working in sync with principles laid out in the SCO charter. But it is unfortunate that there have been repeated efforts to unnecessarily bring bilateral issues in the SCO agenda which is in violation of the SCO spirit,” he said.
In mid-September, India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval walked out of a virtual meeting of top security officials of the SCO member states after the Pakistani representative projected a map that inaccurately depicted Kashmir.
Prime Minister Modi reiterated also India’s firm belief in regional peace, security and prosperity and noted that it is raising voice against terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering.
Referring to COVID-19, he said India will use its capacity in production and distribution of vaccines to help the entire humanity in fighting the pandemic, and noted that in this difficult time also, Indian pharma industry had sent essential medicines to over 150 countries.
“India strongly believes that a combination of economic multilateralism and national capacity building can help the countries including in the SCO region recover from the economic losses caused by the pandemic,” Modi said.
“I am confident that a self-reliant India will prove to be a force multiplier for the world economy and will trigger a momentum for economic development of the SCO countries,” he said. (PTI)