INDIA ON Friday stayed away from supporting China’s Belt and Road Initiative at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit’s Bishkek declaration, in line with the template followed at the SCO summit in Qingdao last year.
“The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan reaffirm their support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and praise the results of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (Beijing, 26 April 2019). They note the ongoing work to implement this initiative together, including the efforts to align the Eurasian Economic Union projects with those under the Belt and Road Initiative,” the Bishkek declaration, which was issued on Friday said.
It named every SCO member country except India. A similar formulation was adopted at the SCO summit in Qingdao. The Bishkek declaration mentioned “cross-border” security threats in the context of terrorism. India has always maintained that cross-border terrorism alludes to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat, joint secretary, SCO, in the Ministry of External Affairs, said, “We have spoken together on terrorism. It is a strong statement and is a consensus statement.”
India sticks to its guns
INDIA HAS stuck to its guns at the SCO, despite being silent on the Belt and Road Forum in April this year. It has continued to register its opposition although other members remain supportive of Beijing’s ambitious project. And on terrorism as well, it has kept up its approach on cross-border terrorism. In both instances, the template in Qingdao declaration has proven to be useful.
In the Qingdao declaration of 2018 as well, there was a mention of “cross-border movement of foreign terrorists and terrorist groups”.
Condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the Bishkek declaration said that they call on the international community to promote global cooperation in combating terrorism with the central role of the UN by fully implementing corresponding UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in compliance with the UN Charter and the principles of international law “without politicisation and double standards” and with respect for the sovereignty and independence of all countries.
Pakistan has always maintained that listing proposals by India, including the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, amounts to “politicisation” of the UN listing regime.
After the Pulwama attack, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had called for avoiding “politicisation” of the UN listing regime at a time when India was stepping up its efforts to get Azhar designated as a global terrorist.
The Bishkek declaration also said the countries believe that the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism, to be widely celebrated in 2020, will reaffirm its lasting significance and the current challenge to prevent new tragedies with mass casualties, as well as the need to actively counter attempts to revive the ideology of Nazism, to spread xenophobia and intolerance.
It also said the 14 member countries of SCO support Russia’s initiatives to “adopt a joint statement of the leaders on the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism at the next SCO Heads of State Council Meeting”.
No meet with Rouhani
PM Narendra Modi could not hold a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the summit due to scheduling issues. According to a schedule put out by the External Affairs Ministry, Modi was to meet Rouhani at 3.35 pm (local time).
As banquet for the SCO leaders got extended, the two leaders could not meet, sources said.