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OCS: India criticizes Pakistan for terrorism, chooses not to back BRI | India News


NEW DELHI: The meeting of SCO heads of government hosted virtually by India on Monday saw Vice President Venkaih Naidu attack Pakistan for using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Consistent with its position on BRI, India also retracted the endorsement of the Chinese connectivity and infrastructure initiative by all other SCO member states in the joint statement.
With a focus on trade and economics, the prime minister-level summit, which was hosted by India for the first time, also highlighted the need for WTO reforms.
Chairing the meeting in the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in his Varanasi constituency on Monday, Naidu said India was also concerned about efforts to raise bilateral issues in the Eurasian forum by openly violating the SCO Charter. that safeguards the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the SCO member states.
Naidu said that the most important challenge facing the region is terrorism, particularly cross-border terrorism. Without naming Pakistan, Naidu said India remained concerned by threats emerging from ungoverned spaces and particularly by states exploiting terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
“Such an approach is totally against the spirit and ideals and the Charter of the SCO,” Naidu said, adding that India condemns terrorism in all its manifestations.
The summit was attended by the prime ministers of China, Russia and all other member states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – except India and Pakistan.
“Any questions about Pakistan’s engagement (with the SCO) should be directed to Pakistan. As far as we are concerned, we have improved our engagement,” said MEA (West) Secretary Vikas Swarup. While underscoring India’s commitment to economic and other initiatives, Swarup said that no country can maintain cooperation under the SCO Charter.
The official was answering questions about Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to skip the event and instead asked the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Secretary to represent Pakistan. While Modi also skipped the meeting, India was represented by the vice president who ranks higher in the Indian order of precedence.
It is not the first time that India has refused to join other member states in “reaffirming” support for BRI projects in the region. “We have chosen not to mention the BRI in the joint statement due to our reservations. SCO Charter allows this,” said a source. India sees the BRI as undermining its sovereignty as the flagship project of the Chinese initiative, CPEC, goes through the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan which, as India says, is illegally occupied by Pakistan.
While the focus of the meeting was trade and the economy, including its role in recovering from Covid-19, Naidu said that economic growth and trade can only operate in an environment of peace and security. For trade to play its role in the recovery process, he said, all partners must be trustworthy and transparent.
“It is trust and transparency that determine the sustainability of world trade and nations must demonstrate their compliance with multilateral trade rules to remain part of this system,” Naidu said.
The heads of delegation also noted, according to the joint communiqué, the importance of further deepening cooperation to jointly support and develop a “transparent, open, inclusive, fair and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system” based on the principles and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and promoting an open world economy.
They stressed the importance of reforming the WTO, including enhancing its key functions: negotiating, monitoring and dispute resolution functions. “They are convinced that when reforming the WTO, it is necessary to ensure that the key values ​​and fundamental principles of the WTO are preserved,” the statement said.

Times of India