Biggest challenge SCO members face is terrorism: India

'Most important challenge' SCO members face is cross-border terrorism: India

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said that terrorism is the 'enemy of humanity'

India on Monday tacitly took a dig at Pakistan and termed cross-border terrorism as the “most important challenge” for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member nations.

“Peace is the essential prerequisite for progress. The most important challenge faced by us in the region is terrorism, particularly cross-border terrorism. Terrorism is truly the enemy of humanity. It is a scourge we need to collectively combat,” Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said, chairing the annual meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Governments.

New Delhi hosted the meeting, which was held virtually in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

India raised the level of participation in the conclave with Vice President leading the delegation. The Prime Ministers of six of the eight SCO nations – Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – took part in the meeting. Pakistan’s representation was at the lowest level with its Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Andeel Abbas, participating in the conclave, apparently to belittle the importance of the event hosted by India.

“India condemns terrorism in all its manifestations We remain concerned about threats emerging from ungoverned spaces and are particularly concerned about (the) states that leverage terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” Naidu said, tacitly hitting out at Pakistan for exporting terrorism to India and other nations in the region and beyond. “Such an approach is entirely against the spirit and ideals and the Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.”

During the course of its chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of Government in 2020, India has particularly focused on creating three new pillars of cooperation: Startups and innovation, science and technology and traditional medicine and also proposed many other concrete initiatives. Vikas Swarup, Secretary (West) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, said that the SCO charter had provision allowing other member nations to go ahead and implement the initiatives launched and proposed by India, even if Pakistan decides to stay away.