NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh raised the issue of terrorism on Saturday at a meeting of Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Rajnath called upon the heads of the SCO nations to combat complex and multinational security issues by strengthening and implementing all existing international laws and mechanisms, without exceptions or double standards. “Terrorism continues to disrupt our societies and undermine our developmental endeavours. It is important for SCO countries to come together to deal with this menace,” the Ministry of Defence in its communiqué quoted the minister as saying.
Rajnath addressed the 18th meeting of Council of Heads of Government of SCO as the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from attending the meeting of state heads of SCO, he will also hold bilateral defence dialogue with Uzbekistan. India joined SCO as a full member in 2017. Apart from India, the group comprises Russia, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Stressing that while the process of globalisation has opened up immense opportunities for the growth of SCO members, Rajnath pointed, “it has also brought to the fore multidimensional, complex and transnational threats affecting developing countries.” He urged the SCO to work together in defeating challenges like terrorism, climate change, endemic poverty, and underdevelopment.
Rajnath appealed the member nations to invest in India, saying New Delhi is ready to share its experience and expertise in skill development and capacity building in areas such as telemedicine, medical tourism, resource mapping, launching of satellites, agricultural education, and affordable pharmaceuticals. He invited SCO to join the Indian initiative of ‘Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure’. India has taken the initiative of launching the coalition to assist countries in upgrading their capacities for developing resilient infrastructure, he said.
Joint army exercise
India will undertake a joint army exercise with Uzbekistan for the first time following Rajnath Singh’s three-day visit to the Central Asian nation beginning November 1.