I heartily congratulate President Mirziyoyev for SCO's effective leadership in this year's challenging global and regional environment.
Today, when the whole world is facing the challenges of economic recovery after the pandemic, the role of SCO becomes very important. SCO member countries contribute about 30 percent of global GDP, and 40 percent of the world's population also lives in SCO countries. India supports greater cooperation and mutual trust among SCO members. The pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine caused many obstacles in global supply chains, due to which the whole world is facing an unprecedented energy and food 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.
We are making progress on making India a manufacturing hub. India's young and talented workforce makes us naturally competitive. India's economy is expected to grow by 7.5 percent this year, which will be the highest among the world's largest economies. A lot of focus is also being given on the proper use of technology in our people-centric development model. We are supporting innovation in every sector. Today, there are more than 70,000 Start-ups in India, of which more than 100 are unicorns. Our experience can also be useful for many other SCO members. For this purpose, we are ready to share our experience with SCO member countries by establishing a new Special Working Group on Start-ups and Innovation.
The world faces another major challenge today – and that is ensuring the food security of our citizens. One possible solution to this problem is to promote the cultivation and consumption of millets. Millets are a superfood that has been grown for thousands of years, not just in SCO countries, but in many parts of the world, and is a traditional, nutritious, and low-cost alternative to dealing with the food crisis. The year 2023 will be celebrated as the UN International Year of Millets. We should consider organizing a 'Millet Food Festival' under the SCO.
India is today one of the most affordable destinations for medical and wellness tourism in the world. WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine was inaugurated in Gujarat in April 2022. This will be WHO's first and only global centre for traditional medicine. We must increase cooperation on traditional medicine among SCO countries. For this, India will take the initiative for a new SCO Working Group on Traditional Medicine.
Before I conclude, I would again like to thank President Mirziyoyev for the excellent conduct of today's meeting and his warm hospitality.
Thank you so much!
September 16, 2022
DISCLAIMER - This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister’s remarks. Original remarks were delivered in Hindi.