Updated: July 29, 2021 5:39:23 am
Peace and prosperity cannot coexist with terrorism, and any act of terror is a crime against humanity, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said during his address at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Tajikistan on Wednesday.
“Peace and prosperity cannot coexist with terrorism. Terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and security. Any act of terror and support to such acts, including cross border terrorism, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever motives, is a crime against humanity. India reaffirms its resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” Singh said.
The participants included the defence ministers of China and Pakistan.
Singh said that India accords “high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners bilaterally on the basis of equality, mutual respect and understanding”. He added that the “challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their sincere practice”, and that the “leading voices of the world must be examples in every way”.
“India reiterates its resolve to work within the SCO framework for helping create and maintain a peaceful, secure and stable region,” Singh said, and reiterated India’s “readiness to partner with fellow SCO Member States to develop joint institutional capacities that respect individual national sensitivities and yet generate a spirit of cooperation to create contact and connectivity between people, societies and nations”.
Members of the SCO, he said, “have collective stakes to create a safe, secure and stable region that can contribute towards progress and improvement of human development indices of our people and the generations which will follow”.
“It is in the same spirit India helps people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far India completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and is continuing with some more, with total development aid of $3 billion.”
Singh said it needs to be recognised that without the sacrifices made by Tajik people to defeat fundamentalism and without constructive efforts by Central Asian Republics with support from the Russian Federation, the situation in the region could have had been very different.
Speaking about India’s geo-strategic location, the minister said that it is both a “Eurasian land power as well as a stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific”. He said that India’s “intent and aspirations” are focused towards the “prosperity and development of the entire region”. Security and stability, he said, “are most essential components to create conducive environment for growth and economic development of the region and our respective nations”.
Speaking about the Covid-19 pandemic, Singh highlighted that it has “affected nations, civil societies and citizens in multiple ways” and called it a “warning sign of how non-traditional security challenges like pandemics, climate change, food security, water security and associated societal disruptions can impact national and international landscape”.
“Non-traditional threats and a new technology have combined to form a whole new spectrum of sub-conventional security issues,” Singh noted.
He highlighted the role played by the armed forces in helping the country tackle the Covid-19 challenge, and said that “these issues cannot be addressed without responsible policies and co-operation among nations”.
India, he said, “has been at the forefront to provide support and assistance to countries” and has given 66 million doses of vaccines to 94 countries and UN peacekeepers, along with support with medicine, medical consumables and equipment to treat Covid-19, to 150 countries.
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