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Rajnath Singh Highlights 'Civilizational Ties' Between SCO Nations

© Photo : Twitter/ @SpokespersonMoDSCO Defence Ministers' meet in New Delhi on 28 April 2023
SCO Defence Ministers' meet in New Delhi on 28 April 2023 - Sputnik India, 1920, 28.04.2023
India is the current chair of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the first time it is holding the presidency since becoming part of the grouping in 2017. Iran and Belarus are also attending the SCO Defence Ministers’ Meeting as observers.
Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday that New Delhi viewed the SCO as an important platform to boost defence cooperation among the grouping's members.
Addressing the SCO Defence Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, Singh expressed hope that trust and cooperation among SCO states would be further bolstered.
According to him, it was important for all member states to focus on the SCO agenda to ensure a secure, stable and a prosperous region: “This will help of us improve the quality of life of people in our respective countries. We stand ready to discuss these issues with you.”
“India is fully committed to implement the mandate of the SCO, as well as face our common contemporary challenges. We remain committed to strengthen the organisation,” stated Singh.
The Indian defence ministry has said that regional peace and security, counter terrorism efforts within SCO and an “effective multilateralism” are the key areas of discussion at the SCO meeting.

SCO Will Work to Further Enhance Cultural Ties

The Indian defence minister also underscored the “cultural and civilizational” ties between India and the other SCO states.

For ages, we have had people-to-people connect and have exchanges in the field of commodities, and ideas — due to which we have grown in economic and cultural terms. With changing times, we will work to strengthen those linkages," he stated.

Dealing with Terrorism Should be SCO's 'Top Priority', Singh Says

During the meeting, the Indian defense minister told his SCO counterparts that they should "collectively work towards eliminating terrorism in all its forms and fix accountability on those who aid or fund such activities".
"If we want to make the SCO a stronger and more credible international organisation, our top-most priority should be to effectively deal with terrorism,” Singh stated.
He described terrorism as a "major crime against humanity".

“If a nation shelters terrorists, it not only poses a threat to others, but for itself too. Radicalization of youth is a cause of concern not only from the point of view of security, but it is also a major obstacle in the path of socio-economic progress of society," said Singh.

In the lead-up to the SCO Defence Ministers’ Meeting on Friday, Singh held a series of bilateral meetings with the other participants.
According to Indian defence ministry, Singh met his counterparts from Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and China on Thursday.
Rajnath Singh meets Iran’s Defence Minister, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiyani - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.04.2023
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