Delegates from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) discussed their views on global and regional development issues.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. (File photo)
By Press Trust of India: Heads of delegations of SCO member states on Tuesday exchanged views on key issues of global and regional development and discussed priority measures to increase trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation within the group of eight members.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday hosted the 21st meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) via video link.
Launched in Shanghai in June 2001, the SCO has eight full members, including its six founding members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became full members in 2017.
Premier Li, who is expected to retire early next year following a major reshuffle of officials following the recent five-year congress of China’s ruling Communist Party, hosted the meeting via video link.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar took part in the virtual meeting.
READ ALSO | India takes over chairmanship of Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Heads of government and representatives of SCO member states, including Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Counterterrorism Structure Ruslan Mirzayev, took part in the meeting, issued a press release. by the SCO Secretariat here said.
The SCO heads of state held their first in-person summit after two years in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, last month, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
India is the current chairman of the SCO heads of state and is expected to hold the summit of the eight-member group in the middle of next year.
A joint statement released after the meeting said the SCO heads of delegation expressed their support for India’s chairmanship of the organization in 2022-2023.
“In a friendly, constructive and professional atmosphere, the heads of delegations exchanged views on key issues of global and regional development, discussed priority measures to strengthen trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation within the SCO” , did he declare.
As in previous SCO meetings, India refrained from supporting China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has objected to the $60 China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which is the BRI’s flagship project.
READ ALSO | Iran to become full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization under India’s chairmanship
Other SCO member countries “noted the ongoing work to jointly implement this project, including efforts to link the construction of the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI,” the joint statement said.
The meeting also “stressed that, in accordance with the principles of the SCO Charter, member states adhere to a line that excludes bloc, ideological and confrontational approaches to solving international and regional development problems, combating traditional and non-traditional security challenges and threats,” it said.
“They noted the adoption by the relevant SCO member states of the roadmap on gradually increasing the share of national currencies in mutual settlements among SCO member states (Samarkand, September 16, 2022 ) and spoke out in favor of expanding this practice,” he said.
The meeting also “stressed the need to provide financial support for project activities in order to maximize the investment potential of the Organization and, in this regard, to continue consultations on the establishment of the SCO and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account).”
READ ALSO | UAE minister praises S Jaishankar and says he is very impressed with how he is positioning India’s foreign policy
The meeting took note of Russia’s proposal to establish the SCO Medical Association in addition to Uzbekistan’s proposal to establish an Alliance of Special Economic Zones of SCO countries and to hold a meeting heads of administration of special economic zones in Samarkand in 2023.
While supporting Tajikistan’s proposal to declare 2025 the International Year of Glacier Preservation, heads of delegations took note of the initiative to establish the International Glacier Protection Fund by adopting a UN General Assembly resolution .
The heads of delegation expressed their solidarity with the people of Pakistan affected by the recent unprecedented floods linked to climate change. They noted the cooperation between the Pakistani government and the UN to overcome the consequences of this devastating natural disaster, according to the joint statement.
READ ALSO | Social media used by terrorists to spread propaganda and conspiracy theories: Jaishankar at UN meeting