India on Wednesday said the bombings in Sri Lanka at a time when the wounds of the Pulwama terror attack were still raw in people’s mind have made it more determined to resolutely fight against terrorism.
Addressing the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers in Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India is determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework for comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
“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 neighbourhood has made us more determined to resolutely fight against this menace,” Swaraj said at the meeting, also attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Swaraj said India is open to ideas on how we can make the work of Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence, more effective.
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, Swaraj said.
She said that India is committed to continue working for a favourable environment for the 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, centred around the World Trade Organisation, and firmly oppose unilateralism and protectionism,” she said, amid the trade war between China and the US.
Swaraj said 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.
Swaraj said India is committed to regional connectivity which is evident from its involvement in the International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port, Ashgabat Agreement and India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.
“We have also operationalised 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,” Swaraj said, apparently referring to India’s objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
She said India supports initiatives for capacity building, human resource development and fostering greater interaction among the youth of the region. India, she said, is ready to share its expertise with other SCO members in such fields as agriculture, medicine, Information Technology, space and finance.
“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…” said the Union minister.