India will contribute to regional security as SCO member: Modi

Tashkent, June 24 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) would contribute to the region’s prosperity and strengthen its security as also in fighting terrorism.

Modi, in his address at the SCO summit, also welcomed Pakistan as a new member, and added that the organisation now represents “40 per cent of humanity and over a billion youth”.

“With India as its full member, SCO boundaries would stretch from the Pacific to Europe, and from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean. We would represent 40 per cent of humanity and over a billion youth,” the Modi said.

He said the “interdependent world” of 21st century was full of economic opportunities, but it also faced geo-political complexities and security challenges.

“India’s membership of SCO would contribute to region’s prosperity. It would also strengthen its security. Our partnership will protect our societies from the threats of radical ideologies of hate, violence and terror,” he said.

Modi emphasised that India will unite with SCO countries to work towards this goal, and added: “We will adopt zero tolerance and a comprehensive approach in fighting terrorism at all levels.”

He also stressed upon the need for peace and stability in Afghanistan, and said: “A stable, independent and peaceful Afghanistan is not just a sincere desire of each Afghan but also necessary for greater security and stability in the SCO region.”

India and Pakistan were inducted as full members of SCO on July 10, 2015 at the Ufa summit and the Memorandum of Obligations signed during the Tashkent summit will formalise the process of membership.

Modi called it a “logical extension of India’s age-old ties with the region” and said India was “grateful” to the SCO member-states for the support.

“I also welcome Pakistan as the new member of the SCO and Belarus as a first-time Observer to this body,” he said.

He added that India brings to the group “principles that are in tune with the philosophies of the SCO”.

Talking about the economic benefits that the ties will bring, he said: “India’s strong economy and its vast market could drive economic growth in the SCO region.”

The Prime Minister said India’s capacities in trade, investment, information and communication technology, space, S&T, agriculture, healthcare, and small- and medium-scale industry can bring widespread economic benefit to the SCO countries.

“What we need is seamless flow of goods, services, capital and people among ourselves. Our region also needs to nurture strong rail, road and air links with the rest of the world,” he said.

“I am confident that India’s engagement with all SCO members will help us build a region, which is an engine of economic growth for the world, and is more stable and secure internally, and strongly connected with other geographies,” Modi said.



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