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Speech by External Affairs Minister at the Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers

May 22, 2019

Foreign Minister of Kyrgyz Republic
Excellency Mr. Chingiz Azamatovich Aidarbekov,
Foreign Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan Excellency Mr. Beibut Atamkulov,
Foreign Minister of People’s Republic of China
Excellency Mr. Wang Yi,
Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Excellency Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi,
Foreign Minister of Russian Federation
Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov,
Foreign Minister of Republic of Tajikistan
Excellency Mr. Sirodjidin Muhridinovich Aslov,
Foreign Minister of Republic of Uzbekistan
Excellency Mr. Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov,
Secretary General of SCO,
Executive Director of SCO RATS,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I extend my warm greetings and felicitations to the Meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO Member States in this enchanting city of Bishkek. I thank our host, the Foreign Minister of Kyrgyz Republic, for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality, extended to me and my delegation. Today’s meeting is of special significance as we would soon be completing two years of our membership in SCO.


In spite of a turbulent global scenario, SCO Member States have been steadily expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in various spheres, including political, security and development.


India is committed to continue working for a favorable environment for SCO member countries' economic activities and to intensify work on the relevant SCO documents dealing with economic and trade cooperation.

India subscribes to a rule based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system, centered around the World Trade Organization, and firmly oppose unilateralism and protectionism.


Science and technology led innovation and the digital economy are the key areas, which could play an important role in the long-term inclusive and sustainable growth.

India has adopted a multi pronged welfare approach, which includes:
(i) development of human resources;
(ii) promoting R&D and Innovation;
(iii) enhancing efficiency through digital services; and
(iv) ensuring a secure cyber space.


It is my firm belief that people to people contacts play a major role in strengthening the relations between nations. Tourism is one such catalyst.We can actively cooperate to promote it. We are sincerely committed to the implementation of the SCO Joint Action Plan forthe development of cooperation in the field of tourism for 2019-2020.

I am happy to announce that our Ministry of Tourism website would have a Russian interface by the end of next month and a 24x7 tourist helpline in Russian language for the ease of tourists from SCO countries. Our e-tourist visa services are available for most of the SCO countries.


India’s commitment to regional connectivity is evident from our involvement in the:
(i) International North-South Transport Corridor;
(ii) Chabahar Port;
(iii) Ashgabat Agreement; and
(iv) India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway;

We have also operationalized air freight corridors between Kabul and Kandahar and New Delhi and Mumbai in 2017. We welcome regional connectivity initiatives, that are inclusive, sustainable, transparent and respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.


India firmly believes in the efficacy of multilateralism and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. It is imperative to have comprehensive reforms of the United Nations and its Security Council to make it more representative and effective.

SCO must support the member countries’ candidatures for the non-permanent membership of UNSC for the years 2021-2022 and 2027-2028.


India is committed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on Combating Climate Change. We welcome the agreement reached at COP 24 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

I am pleased that an SCO Action Plan for environment protection for 2019-2021 has been finalised. We look forward to continue our participation with keen interest in this area.


India supports initiatives for:
(i) capacity building;
(ii) human resource development; and
(iii) fostering greater interaction among the
youth of the region.

We are ready to share India’s expertise with other SCO Members in such fields as:
(i) agriculture;
(ii) Medicine;
(iii) Information Technology;
(iv) Space;
(v) Finance; and
(vi) renewable energy.


Our heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka, who have recently witnessed the ghastly act of terrorism. Our wounds of Pulwama attack were still raw and the news from the neighborhood has made us more determined to fight firmly resolutely against this menace.

We are determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework for comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We would be open to ideas on how we can make the work of RATS more effective in this regard.


India stands committed to any process, which can help Afghanistan emerge as a united, peaceful, secure, stable, inclusive and economically vibrant nation, with guaranteed gender and human rights. I wish to once again underscore the importance India attaches to SCO Afghanistan Contact Group and welcome an early conclusion of the Draft Roadmap of further actions of the Contact Group.


India welcomes the increased international engagement of SCO with other international and regional organizations and the fruitful efforts of the SCO Secretariat in forging cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian spheres.


I once again thank Excellency Aidarbekov, for the warm hospitality and look forward to successful outcome of the Council of Head of States meeting next month.

May 22, 2019

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