The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Friday strongly resolved to step up efforts to combat threat of terrorism and extremism while calling for political initiatives to resolve regional conflicts and differences. The powerful security grouping adopted a declaration charting the future course of action in dealing with major challenges facing the region.
The leaders also termed as “historic” induction of India and Pakistan into the grouping as full members, saying the first expansion of the bloc since its inception in 2001 have made it one of the most influential forums globally as it now represents over 40 per cent of the world population and nearly 20 per cent of the global GDP.
In his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the SCO leaders for ensuring India’s entry into the grouping and said it will give a new momentum to the bloc in dealing with terrorism and other pressing challenges facing the region.
Speaking at the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping said recent acts of terrorism in the region showed that the fight against it remains a long and arduous task.
“We should continue to give priority to the SCO’s commitment to maintain regional security and stability,” he said.
The Chinese president said China supports the enforcement of the SCO Convention on Combating Extremism which will effectively contain the spread of extremism.
“To enhance the capacity of member states in coordination and implementation in the security field, China calls the SCO to strengthen regional counter-terrorism institutional building and resolutely crackdown on illicit drug manufacturing and trafficking,” he said.
Xi said China is willing to host the SCO joint counter-terrorism cyber exercise.
“China proposes to hold a defence security forum and formulate a three-year programme of cooperation to fight the three forces. China supports the SCO in speaking with one voice on international and regional issues. The SCO can contribute to finding political settlement to hotspot issues,” he said.
The next SCO chair will be China and it will host the next summit in 2018.
In his address, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif welcomed India’s inclusion as full member of the SCO.
“I congratulate India for joining the SCO family. Today, in its outreach, the SCO is truly transcontinental. In coming decades, it would serve as a strong link between the Asia-Pacific, East Asia, West Asia and the Atlantic region.
“Over the years, the SCO has emerged as a sheet anchor for regional stability. Now, it is destined to become a cornerstone of global politics and economics, with economics gaining primacy,” Sharif said.
He said Pakistan fully endorses the SCO’s resolve to fight the twin evils of terrorism and extremism.
“Pakistan has fought its own fierce war against international terrorism and violent extremism; and with the grace of God we have been able to turn around the security and economic situation in our country,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin too called for concerted efforts to deal with terrorism and extremism. The leaders also called for bringing the situation in Syria under control through dialogues.