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HomeDiplomacyHope for stronger counter-terrorism measures under Indian leadership, says SCO's Chinese chief

Hope for stronger counter-terrorism measures under Indian leadership, says SCO’s Chinese chief

In an exclusive interview with ThePrint, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation secretary general Zhang Ming also said the multilateral body was expected to expand during India's tenure as chair.

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Samarkand, Uzbekistan: India, which took over the chairmanship of the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) from Uzbekistan last week, will be supported by all member countries — including China — said SCO secretary general Zhang Ming, also highlighting that the multilateral body was expected to expand during India’s chairmanship.

In an exclusive interview with ThePrint, secretary general Zhang said all member countries are “hopeful” that under India’s chairmanship the SCO will be effectively addressing the concerns posed by “global events” and ensure the expansion of the organisation.

“Now India has become the chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. We will all whole-heartedly support it. I am sure that India, with its rich experience, culture and civilization will hold a successful summit next year and ensure the body’s growth,” Zhang told ThePrint, on the sidelines of the just-concluded SCO summit in the historic city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

India became a full member of the SCO in 2017 and this is the first time ever that the country has taken over the chairmanship of the multilateral body. The SCO was founded in Shanghai in 2001 and currently has eight permanent members — China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan.

“India is now (one) of the key member states of the SCO and for the past many years India has played an important role. I am sure India will actively push some of the key developments within the organisation and we look forward to it,” said Zhang, who was appointed the new secretary general of the SCO in January this year, for a period of three years.

A former Chinese diplomat, Zhang said the main agenda for the SCO now is how to promote peace, security, development and prosperity.


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Tackling terrorism

The SCO, often referred to as anti-NATO, granted full membership to Iran in the summit that just got concluded in Uzbekistan. It will attend the SCO as a full member from the summit to be hosted by India in New Delhi in 2023.

Next in line is Belarus, and the procedures for its induction as another permanent member have begun.

Besides, during last week’s summit Maldives, Bahrain, Myanmar, UAE and Kuwait were granted the status of dialogue partners, as part of the extended SCO, though they are not yet full members. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are also expected to become dialogue partners soon.

The SCO secretary general added that under India’s chairmanship the multilateral body expects to see the strengthening of counterterrorism measures under the SCO Regional Anti- Terrorist Structure (SCO RATS).

According to the Samarkand Declaration, which was issued post the SCO Summit last Friday, “The Member States expressed deep concern over the security threat posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations and strongly condemned terrorist acts around the world.”

The SCO members this time also vowed to “cut off terrorist financing channels, suppress terrorist recruitment and cross-border movement, counter extremism, radicalisation of youth, spread of terrorist ideology, and eliminate sleeper cells and places used as terrorist safe havens,” the statement said.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)


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