Sochi (Russia): In keeping with India's continuous efforts in the fight against terrorism, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday sought the cooperation of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the fight against this global scourge.
"At the very outset, India strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," Sushma Swaraj said while addressing the 16th Meeting of the Council of SCO Heads of Government here.
"There can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism. We are determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework, and to work together, to seek comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security," she said.
She called for the building of a strong security architecture in the region keeping in perspective the objectives of the SCO and SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS).
In June this year, India, along with Pakistan, became the first South Asian nation to join the SCO since it was founded in 2001 by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to foster multilateral cooperation on security issues.
Stating that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. Sushma Swaraj said that it was a crime against the entire humanity.
"India, therefore, urges all nations to enhance cooperation in intelligence sharing, law enforcement, developing best practices and technologies, mutual legal assistance, extradition arrangements, capacity building amongst other measures, for countering terrorism," she said.
Stating that challenges before the global economy continued to persist, she said that a slowdown in the world economy accompanied with the increasing tide of protectionism and policy uncertainties would require measures of matching proportions.
"In the background of sluggish economic growth in the world, India's economic growth is expected to accelerate in the long-term and we would like the other SCO members to be part of India's growth story," she stated.
Stating that connectivity with SCO countries was India's priority, she said that it should "pave the way for cooperation and trust between our societies".
"For this, respect for sovereignty is essential. Inclusivity, transparency and sustainability are imperative."
Stating that connectivity with Afghanistan was an important priority sector for India, Sushma Swaraj said that this has improved with the operationalisation of the air freight corridor between Kabul, Kandahar and New Delhi this past June.
"Greater involvement of the Central Asian countries in the economic development of Afghanistan especially through enhanced trade, investment and connectivity would serve the purpose of consolidating peace and security in our region," she said.
She also called for continued, diversified cooperation in the field of energy, including the use of renewable and alternative sources of energy.
"This should be complimented by the development of efficient technologies in mining, transportation and consumption of traditional energy resources to reduce negative environmental impacts," she said.
Stressing on the importance of innovation and the digital economy as a key factor in medium-and long-term economic growth, and global sustainable development, Sushma Swaraj said that India would promote cooperation in the field of science and technology.
"We reaffirm our readiness to implement the multilateral initiatives of the SCO member states in this area for mutually beneficial partnerships in the region, accelerating new sources of economic growth," she said.
On agriculture, she said that the SCO member states "must continue to explore possibilities for intensification of cooperation in this field in areas such as food security, adaptation of agriculture to climatic change, development and implementation of innovative agricultural technologies, joint projects in the field of live stock breeding, crop production and agricultural products processing".