Modi takes dig at Pakistan during virtual SCO meet

New Delhi/Islamabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a swipe at Pakistan at the virtual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), saying it is unfortunate that repeated attempts were being made to violate the grouping’s charter by raising bilateral issues.

Modi also said connectivity initiatives should be built around respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, and reiterated that India stood ready to help all nations fight the Covid-19 crisis with its vaccine production and distribution capabilities.

The SCO heads of state summit, chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was held virtually owing to the pandemic. It was the first time that Modi and President Xi Jinping shared the same platform since the India-China standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) emerged in the open in May.

Modi, who spoke in Hindi, said India believes in peace, security and prosperity, and has always opposed terrorism, illegal arms smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering, he added. Without naming Pakistan, he said: “It is unfortunate that repeated attempts are being made to unnecessarily bring bilateral issues to the SCO agenda, which violate the SCO Charter and Shanghai Spirit. Such efforts are contrary to the spirit of consensus and cooperation that defines SCO.”

India has reacted sharply to Pakistan’s repeated efforts, often with support from its traditional ally China, to raise the Kashmir issue at multilateral bodies such as SCO and the UN Security Council since the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped in August last year.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who spoke after Modi, criticized India without naming the country. Khan praised China, including for its assistance for tackling the pandemic and its support for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is opposed by India as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Noting that SCO was established to ensure security across Eurasia, Khan said, in an apparent reference to Kashmir: “SCO stands for strict observance of this principle and the principles of the UN charter such as equality and sovereignty of states, respect for territorial integrity, sanctity of borders, non-aggression, non-use of threat of force and people’s right for self-determination.”

Image courtesy of (File photo)

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