New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar urged “collective action” against terrorism Wednesday as he participated in a virtual conference of foreign ministers from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states.
“EAM (external affairs minister) underlined that the security challenges we face today are not linked by physical or political boundaries,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on the conference. “Terrorism continues to be the overwhelming threat to security and stability in the SCO region and would require collective action.”
Founded in 2001, the SCO is an intergovernmental organisation that seeks to promote cooperation in politics, economy, research and trade, among other things, between its members. It currently has eight members — India, Pakistan, China, Russia, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became its members in 2017.
The SCO foreign ministers’ meeting, held through video-conferencing Wednesday, was hosted by Russia, which is the current chair.
The statement by minister Jaishankar comes at a time when India is seeing a spurt in ceasefire violations from Pakistan in Jammu & Kashmir, and amid concerns in New Delhi about the Pakistani deep state’s alleged involvement in encouraging cross-border terrorism in Kashmir as India focuses on fighting Covid-19.
“The security challenges we face today are not linked by physical or political boundaries,” Jaishankar said.
His concerns were echoed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who called for strengthening the role of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), an SCO mechanism, to counter terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.
With the virtual conference held in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lavrov also said the US was using the pandemic situation to “impose their point of view, their vision of world order”.
“We have to state that even in the conditions of a pandemic, our American colleagues and their allies do not abandon their attempts to escalate confrontation, to use the current situation to impose their point of view, their vision of world order, which they call an order based on rules. As you know, they invent the rules themselves,” Lavrov said.
‘Reject attempts to politicise Covid response’
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said SCO member countries have worked together keeping in mind the “Shanghai spirit”, and urged them to reject attempts to “politicise the response, label the virus”.
“We call on people around the world to defy pessimism and fear and reject attempts to politicise the response, label the virus, and stigmatise any specific country, in order to shore up extensive public support to win the fight against #COVID19,” he said, referring to efforts by some sections, including in the US, to target China for the pandemic. The virus is believed to have originated in China.
We call on people around the world to defy pessimism and fear and reject attempts to politicize the response, label the virus, and stigmatize any specific country, in order to shore up extensive public support to win the fight against #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/QGbaTYR5rW
— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) May 13, 2020
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the need for a “comprehensive regional response” to fight the pandemic.
“The People’s Republic of China in particular offers one of the most effective and successful templates in this fight. Pakistan lauds China’s responsible handling of the crisis at home, and the generous support extended the world over, including Pakistan, to those in need,” Qureshi said.