Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has emerged as a key platform for the peace, prosperity, and development of Eurasia as he opened the bloc’s 23rd summit on Tuesday.
“We do not see the SCO as an extended neighborhood, but rather as an extended family,” Modi said at the event, which is being hosted by New Delhi in a virtual format. Summit participants include the presidents of Russia, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Belarus.
The Indian leader listed the pillars his country has focused on during its presidency of the SCO, including economic development, connectivity, unity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and environmental protection.
Modi congratulated Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on joining the organization as its ninth full-fledged member, and welcomed the signing of a memorandum of obligation for SCO membership with Belarus.
The Indian leader spoke about cross-border terrorism, describing it as a threat to regional as well as global peace, and called for decisive action. “Some countries use cross-border terrorism as an instrument in sync with their policy. The SCO must not hesitate to criticize such countries,” Modi insisted.
New Delhi is aiming to conclude its presidency of the SCO with a joint communique that will address issues related to terrorism and de-radicalization, as well as a range of other areas where member countries could pursue more cooperation, including connectivity, energy, and culture.