October 5, 2022

SCO has collective stake to create a safe and secure region: DefMin at Dusanbe

Rajnath Singh addresses SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Highlights terrorism as the most serious threat to international peace and security

Dusanbe, Tajikistan, Stressing on the importance of the regional group, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The SCO Nations, together, encompass nearly half the human population on our planet. In terms of geography, it covers approximately three fifths of the Eurasian continent. We, therefore, have collective stakes to create a safe, secure and stable region that contributes towards progress and improvement of human development indices of our people and the generations which will follow.”

The Defence Minister pointed out that it is in the same spirit India helps people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far India completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and continuing with some more with total development aid of USD3 billion.

He was addressing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting at Tajik capital city of Dusanbe on July 28.

On this occasion, the Defence Minister congratulated member-states of the SCO on successful completion of 20 years of its existence, and said that though India joined the organisation in 2017, historical and civilisational relations and geographical connects make India inseparable from the SCO. 

Speaking about geo-strategic location of India that makes it both a Eurasian land power and also a stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific, he said, “Our intent and aspirations are therefore focused towards prosperity and development of the entire region. We affirm this intent through our national policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region, commonly known by the acronym SAGAR.” “Security and Stability are most essential components to create conducive environment for growth and economic development of the region and of our respective nations,” he added.

Reiterating India’s resolve to work within the SCO framework for helping create and maintain a peaceful, secure and stable region, Singh said, “India also reiterate commitments to partner with fellow SCO member-states to develop joint institutional capacities that respect individual national sensitivities and yet generate a spirit of cooperation to create contact and connectivity between people, societies and nations.”

Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Defence Minister said “It has affected nations, civil societies and citizens in multiple ways. This is a warning sign of how non-traditional security challenges like pandemics, climate change, food security, water security and associated societal disruptions can impact national and international landscape.”

Rajnath Singh said the Armed Forces and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) played a stellar role in efforts against Covid-19. He said, “…During the global pandemic, India was able to provide support and assistance to countries around the world. This includes 6.6 crore doses of vaccines to 90 countries, support with medicine, medical consumables and equipment to 150 countries. We may mention the massive ‘Vande Bharat’ logistic service to move over 70 lakh stranded people, including foreigners, mostly by air route, but also by our ships in the Indian Ocean.”

The Defence Minister assured, “India plans to produce well over 250 crore doses of vaccines between August and the end of 2021. We are determined to vaccinate at least 90 crore adult Indians and to help other friendly countries with vaccine.”

He called upon member-nations to evolve to meet the needs of its time. He said, “No institution, howsoever important, can remain frozen at the moment of its foundation. The inherent strength of SCO lies in the fact that member-states participate in cooperation programme at their own pace and as per respective national policies. We are glad that SCO has evolved as truly an international organisation of significance.” Event of today is yet another step towards strengthening stability and security in the region. This will serve to further development of multilateral cooperation within the SCO format, he added.

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