SAMARKAND: In the Eternal City of the East, the leaders of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation unveiled a new narrative of co-prosperity and co-development, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitching for enhancing connectivity and cooperation in jointly combating terrorism.
In his interventions at the SCO summit and in bilateral meetings with the leader of Russia and Iran, PM Modi highlighted the scourge of terrorism afflicting the region. “PM stressed the need for combating terrorism. In this context, he spoke about the role of RATS (Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure), said India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told select journalists in Samarkand. The SCO has decided to work towards developing a unified list of terrorist organisations in the region, Mr Kwatra said.
In his remarks at the SCO summit, PM Modi also showcased India’s high rate of economic growth and people-centric development model in the presence of the leaders from 15 countries. “We are focussing on people-centric development model. We are supporting innovation in every sector. Today there are more than 70,000 start-ups and over 100 unicorns in our country,” PM Modi said on September 16. “The world is overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Several disruptions occurred in the global supply chain because of the COVID and Ukraine crisis. We want to transform India into a manufacturing hub,” PM Modi said.
As India took over presidency of the SCO from Uzbekistan, PM Modi struck a confident note on strengthening of the SCO and positioned SCO as an anchor of stability in the region. “Today, when the whole world is facing the challenges of economic recovery after the pandemic, the role of SCO becomes very important. India supports greater cooperation and mutual trust among SCO members,” said PM Modi.
The central thrust of PM Modi’s speech was to highlight the role of SCO in mitigating unprecedented energy and food crisis and in bolstering supply chains that have been disrupted by the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis. “SCO must make efforts to develop reliable, resilient and diversified supply chains in our region. This will require better connectivity, as well as it will be important that we all give each other full right to transit,” said PM Modi. The remarks on connectivity were double-edged and aimed at Pakistan which has relentlessly denied India overland access to Central Asia due to entrenched hostility.
The showpiece of PM Modi’s visit to Samarkand was his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the two leaders literally singing praises of each other and India-Russia friendship. In defiance of Western pressure and sanctions, the two strategic partners decided to enhance economic and energy ties. In his meeting with Mr Putin, PM Narendra Modi underlined that it is not an era of war but recalled his 22-year friendship with him and depth of India-Russia friendship that is known to the international community.
“I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Modi told Putin in opening remarks. Putin, on his part, assured that he is aware of India’s concerns over the Ukraine crisis and that he is trying to end the conflict in near future. He wished Modi on the eve of his birthday and assured on ensuring food and energy security.
“I also know that tomorrow is your birthday, dear friend. According to Russian tradition, we do not congratulate on birthday in advance, so I cannot congratulate you on your birthday, but I want you to know that we remember this, we know and in any case we wish you all the best – and to the Indian people, India, a country which has been friendly with us, we wish prosperity under your leadership.
“Had a wonderful meeting with President Putin. We got the opportunity to discuss furthering India-Russia cooperation in sectors such as trade, energy, defence and more. We also discussed other bilateral and global issues,” Modi later tweeted.
(Manish Chand is CEO and Director, India Writes Network and Centre for Global India Insights, a think tank focused on global affairs)
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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