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At SCO meet, Jaishankar takes aim at China’s BRI: ‘Connectivity projects should respect sovereignty’

The External Affairs Minister was speaking at the virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

jaishankarJaishankar said India's total trade with SCO member states is just $141 billion, which has potential to increase manifold. (Express file photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Connectivity projects should respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of countries, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said, in an apparent reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The External Affairs Minister was speaking at the virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

A joint communique issued at the end of the meeting said Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reaffirmed their support for China’s BRI and to work jointly to implement the project.

India was not among the SCO-member countries that supported the BRI.

In his address, Jaishankar also said India intends to foster greater cooperation with the SCO member states in countering the global food crisis.

He later tweeted: “Represented India at the meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) which has just concluded. Underlined that we need better connectivity in the SCO region built on the centrality of interests of Central Asian states.”

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Stressing on better connectivity, Jaishankar said it will unlock the economic potential of the SCO region, in which Chabahar port and the International North South Transport Corridor could become enablers. “Connectivity projects should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states and respect international law,” he said.

First published on: 01-11-2022 at 21:30 IST
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