Xi, Sharif listen as EAM reads out Modi's message, seeking decisive response to terror, respect for sovereignty

PM Modi, himself, did not attend the SCO summit, but his message was read out by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who led the delegation from New Delhi at the conclave.
Last Updated : 04 July 2024, 15:55 IST

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New Delhi: With the leaders of Pakistan and China present, India used the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Astana on Thursday to send out a subtle message to both neighbours, calling for a decisive response to cross-border terrorism and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

“Terrorism in any form or manifestation cannot be justified or condoned. The international community must isolate and expose those countries that harbour terrorists, provide safe havens, and condone terrorism,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to the SCO leaders at the summit of the 10-nation bloc in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Modi, himself, did not attend the SCO summit, but his message was read out by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who led the delegation from New Delhi at the conclave.

“Cross-border terrorism requires a decisive response and terrorism financing, and recruitment must be resolutely countered. We should also take proactive steps to prevent the spread of radicalization among our youth,” the prime minister stressed.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan and President Xi Jinping of China were among the leaders, who attended the summit hosted by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan.

New Delhi has been accusing Pakistan of exporting terror to India.

With Sharif listening, Jaishankar read out Modi’s message reminding the SCO that combatting terrorism was “one of the original goals” of the bloc.

“At this time, it is particularly noteworthy that we are reiterating mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, equality, mutual benefit, non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of force or threat of use of force as a basis for our foreign policies,” Modi conveyed to the other SCO leaders “We have also agreed not to take any measures contrary to the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added, subtly sending out a message to Beijing, with Chinese President himself attending the summit.

The soldiers of the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army have been engaged in a stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto boundary between the two nations – in eastern Ladakh since April-May 2020. The stand-off started with China deploying a large number of troops in an aggressive move to push the LAC westward into the territory claimed by India. The Indian Army also responded to the Chinese PLA’s move with counter-deployment, resulting in a stand-off, which could not be resolved completely even after four years.

Modi also tacitly hit out at both China and Pakistan by stressing that respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity was essential for connectivity and infrastructure projects.

New Delhi has been opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship component of the Chinese President’s ambitious cross-continental connectivity project called the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI. Beijing in the past 10 years got over 150 nations to sign agreements for the implementation of infrastructure projects, like the construction of highways, railways, and power plants, all to be executed by the state-owned companies of China. New Delhi, however, did not join the BRI.

The CPEC linked China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region and the port city of Gwadar in southern Pakistan. It covered the areas claimed by India as its own but under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. With the CPEC violating the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of India, New Delhi has been vociferously opposing it.

Modi’s stress on non-interference in any nation’s internal affairs came less than a month after a joint statement issued by China and Pakistan after a meeting between Sharif and Xi in Beijing stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia, the necessity of resolving all outstanding disputes, and opposed any unilateral actions – obviously referring to India’s August 2019 move to strip its Jammu and Kashmir state of its special status and to reorganise it into two union territories.

Published 04 July 2024, 15:55 IST

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