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Statement by External Affairs Minister at the 16th Meeting of Council of SCO Heads of Governments, Sochi (December 01, 2017)

December 01, 2017

Excellency, Chairman of the Government of Russian Federation Mr. Dmitri Medvedev,
Excellencies, Prime Ministers of SCO Member States,
Heads of Delegations of Observer States,
Secretary General of SCO and Executive Director of RATS

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!


I would like to extend my warm felicitations and appreciation for the meeting of the Council of SCO Heads of Governments, in this beautiful city of Sochi.

I thank the hosts for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival.

My congratulations to Pakistan for becoming the full member of SCO. This meeting has a special significance for India because it is the first meeting of the Council, after India became the full member of the SCO. Furthermore, it is being hosted by our old and trusted friend Russia.

I bring warm greetings and best wishes from our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the success of this meeting.

I would like to thank the Chair for the productive discussions that we have had earlier today, on our wide-ranging agenda.

Excellencies,

Challenges before the global economy continue to persist. Slowdown in the world economy accompanied with increasing tide of protectionism and policy uncertainties will require measures of matching proportions.

In the background of sluggish economic growth in the world, India’s economic growth is expected to accelerate in the long-term and we would like the other SCO members to be part of India’s growth story.

Excellencies,

Keeping in perspective the objectives of SCO and SCO-RATS of building a strong security architecture in the region, I would like to dwell on the threat of global terrorism.

At the very outset, India strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism. We are determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework, and to work together, to seek comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security.

Furthermore, we must reaffirm that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. It is a crime against the entire humanity.

Excellencies,

India, therefore, urges all nations to enhance cooperation in intelligence sharing, law enforcement, developing best practices and technologies, mutual legal assistance, extradition arrangements, capacity building amongst other measures, for countering terrorism.

Excellencies,

The people of SCO countries have been connected through centuries, through shared commonalities of art and culture, ideas and knowledge; language and traditions. Today, we are rejuvenating these connects and commonalities.

I believe that this is the starting point of our journey, to realise the full spectrum of connectivity – from culture to commerce; from traditions to technology; from investments to IT; from services to strategy; and from people to politics, that has been visualised by Prime Minister Modi.

Excellencies,

Connectivity with SCO countries is India’s priority. We want connectivity to pave the way for cooperation and trust between our societies.

For this, respect for sovereignty is essential. Inclusivity, transparency and sustainability are imperative.

Connectivity with Afghanistan is an important priority sector for India, and has improved with the operationalization of the Air Freight Corridor between Kabul, Kandahar and New Delhi this past June.

Greater involvement of the Central Asian countries in the economic development of Afghanistan especially through enhanced trade, investment and connectivity would serve the purpose of consolidating peace and security in our region.

Excellencies,

We recognize the importance to continue diversified cooperation in the field of energy, including the use of renewable and alternative sources of energy. This should be complimented by the development of efficient technologies in mining, transportation and consumption of traditional energy resources to reduce negative environmental impacts. We look forward to the SCO to interacting actively and participating in Energy Club’s initiatives in this regard.

Excellencies,

Recognizing the importance of innovation and the digital economy as a key factor in medium-and long-term economic growth, and global sustainable development, we intend to promote cooperation in the field of science and technology. We reaffirm our readiness to implement the multilateral initiatives of the SCO Member States in this area for mutually beneficial partnerships in the region, accelerating new sources of economic growth.

Similarly, we strongly advocate the expansion of mutually advantageous, and diversified cooperation between the specialized agencies, associations and companies of the SCO Member States in the field of communication and information technologies as well as use of "e-Government" technologies and state e-governance tools.

Excellencies,

Agriculture is an important area of cooperation and SCO must continue to explore possibilities for intensification of cooperation in this field in areas as food security, adaptation of agriculture to climatic change, development & implementation of innovative agricultural technologies, joint projects in the field of live stock breeding, crop production & agricultural products processing.

Excellencies,

India, in cooperation with other SCO Member States would promote the development of cooperation in legal services within the SCO framework.

Excellencies,

In conclusion, I would like to once again congratulate Prime Minister Medvedev (esnosnso) for successful organization of the meeting and thank for the warm hospitality, extended to me and my delegation in Sochi.

I would also like to convey our best wishes to the Prime Minister of Tajikistan for the next meeting of Council of SCO Heads of Government in Tajikistan in 2018.

Thank you…

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