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External Affairs Minister's Address at SCO Council of Foreign Ministers, Beijing (April 24, 2018)

April 24, 2018

Excellency Mr. Wang Yi
Foreign Minister of People’s Republic of China

Excellency Mr. Kairat Abdrakhmanov ,
Foreign Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan

Excellency Mr. Abdyldaev Erlan Bekeshovich
Foreign Minister of Kyrgyz Republic

Excellency Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif
Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan


Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov,
Foreign Minister of Russian Federation

Excellency Mr. Sirodjidin Muhridinovich Aslov
Foreign Minister of Republic of Tajikistan

Excellency Mr. Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov
Foreign Minister of Republic of Uzbekistan

Secretary General of SCO and
Executive Director of SCO RATS

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,


I express my heart-felt felicitations and appreciation for this meeting of theSCO Council of Foreign Ministers in the historic city of Beijing.

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

This meeting has a special significance for India, since, after becoming a full-fledged member of SCO, we would deliberate on issues relating to the forthcoming SCO Summit in June this year.

Excellencies,

SCO countries have been connected historically through shared commonalities, which we are constantly rejuvenating.

Excellencies,

India is committed to working with SCO to strengthen our economic and investment ties.We believe that economic globalization should be more open, inclusive, equitable and balanced for mutual benefits. Protectionism in all its forms should be rejected and efforts should be made to discipline measures that constitute barriers to trade.

We must promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment to inject greater impetus into the world economy.In this respect we must continue to diversify cooperation in the fields of innovation and digital economy, science and technology, energy, agriculture, food security, amongst others.

Excellencies,

SCO is a major platform for convergence in our world views on sustainable development, clean and healthy living, multilateral trading system, Doha Development Agenda, disarmament and non-proliferation.

We are committed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement of 2015 on combating climate change. Addressing Climate Change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable clean energy are our shared priorities.

We also reaffirm our commitment to undertake mutual cooperation for reducing the cost of deployment of renewable energy.

Following the establishment of "International Solar Alliance” in December 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted its Founding Conference in New Delhi in March 2018, during which the "Delhi Solar Agenda” was adopted.

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.India has cooperated extensively with international community for enhanced connectivity.

This is evident from our involvement with the

(i) International North-South Transport Corridor,
(ii) the Chabahar Port Development,
(iii) the Ashgabat Agreement,
(iv) India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway Project,
(v) Bangladesh-Butan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Initiative amongst others.

India has operationalized the air freight corridor between Kabul, Kandahar, New Delhi and Mumbai last year.

All these initiatives would further strengthen the entire spectrum of multi-modal networks in the SCO space.

Excellencies,

There are a number of challenges that are being faced by the world today, foremost being the threat of global terrorism and the imminent need to build a strong security architecture to combat it. Terrorism is an enemy of the basic human rights: of life, peace and prosperity.

The criminal terrorist militias are not impeded by borders as they seek to destroy the architecture of international stability and build walls of fear in societies that believe in pluralism.

We strongly believe that our fight against terrorism should not only seek to eliminate terrorists but should also identify and take strong measures against States that encourage, support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups.

Maiming & killing innocent lives indiscriminately, constitutes the most blatant violation of human rights. We have to work together to wipe-out this scourge from the face of the earth.

In order to realize this objective, we must unite across our differences, strengthen our resolve and script an effective strategy against terror. We welcome the clarity shown by SCO on terrorism from its inception.

We should also urgently resolve to establish Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that India proposed more than two decades ago in the United Nations. We are determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework for comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

Excellencies,

I believe that peace and development in Afghanistan contributes to security & prosperity of the Member States and the region as a whole. This can only be achieved through political dialogue and reconciliation in an atmosphere free from terror and violence, within the framework of Afghan Constitution.

We must strongly support the active efforts of the Afghan Government to implement Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled, inclusive peace and reconciliation process. India actively supports the activation of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, the Moscow Consultation Format and other mechanisms of dialogue and cooperation for restoration of peace & development in Afghanistan.

Excellencies,

It is clear to many of us that the Security Council is increasingly unable, or sometimes unwilling, to respond to the security challenges of our times, with tragic consequences.

We must not lose sight of the fact that reforms of the UN will be incomplete, without reforms in the Security Council to make it more representative of contemporary realities.

Since 2008, the international community has carefully nurtured the ongoing Inter Governmental Negotiations at the UN to take our discussions on UNSC reforms forward. An overwhelming majority of members have expressed their desire to see these negotiations continue on the basis of a text.

This to my mind is the most urgent task before us on this important UN agenda.

Excellencies,

India stands committed to consolidate and enrich SCO further. I am sure our deliberations today will play a significant role for preparation of the upcoming Heads of States Summit in June this year.

In conclusion, I would like to once again thank the Chair and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for the successful organization of the meeting. I would also like to convey our best wishes for the success of the forthcoming SCO Summit in Qingdao in June this year.

*****

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