Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that Terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and security. He was speaking at the SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe on 28 July 2021. He also stressed that 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.
Speaking on the importance India accords to the SCO, he said that India supports and participates in the SCO activities, including in defence cooperation programme, reflecting commitment to work closely within the SCO framework. “This flows from India’s commitment to multilateralism, in which international laws must be respected, legitimate interests of partner countries are recognized and common good is upheld to build a durable framework of regional collaboration”, he said.
On the importance of the region to India and vice-versa, Rajnath Singh said that geo-strategic location of India makes it both a Eurasian land power as well as a stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific. “Our intent and aspirations are therefore focused towards prosperity and development of the entire region”.
He mentioned India’s policy of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’, commonly known by the acronym ‘SAGAR’. “Security and Stability are most essential components to create conducive environment for growth and economic development of the region and our respective Nations”, he said.
SCO Nations encompass nearly half the human population on our planet and it covers approximately three fifths of the Eurasian continent in terms of geography. Hence the SCO members 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 continuing with some more with total development aid of US dollar 3 billion”, he said.
He further reiterated India’s initiatives during Covid pandemic. He spoke about the coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure (CDRI) which aims not only at promotion of disaster resilient infrastructure, but also infrastructure risk management, standards, financing and recovery is also an example of how countries are coming together to create and share capabilities to deal with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief issues. He also mentioned that India has been at the forefront to provide support and assistance to countries around the world during the pandemic. India has supplied 66 million doses of vaccines to 94 countries and UN peacekeepers as well as support with medicine, medical consumables and equipment to treat Covid-19, to 150 countries, he said.
He spoke about yet another of India’s initiative, the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which is to promote solar energy towards threat of climate changes. India has plans to install 280 Giga Watt of solar energy capacity by the year 2030. Our countries can join hands to address the challenges of climate change, he said.
Reiterating India’s resolve to work within the SCO framework for helping create and maintain a peaceful, secure and stable region, Rajnath Singh said that India is ready 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.