New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said India supports a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan while stating that ‘all acts of terrorism are threat to international peace and security’.
Speaking earlier today at the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Rajnath Singh said terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and security.
“Any act of terror and support to such acts, including cross border terrorism, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever motives, is a crime against humanity,” Rajnath Singh said.
The Defence Minister who is on a three-day visit to the Tajikistan capital Dushanbe congratulated Member-States of the SCO on the successful completion of 20 years of its existence.
He arrived at the Tajikistan capital on Tuesday, July 27. Tajikistan holds the current chair of the eight members SCO. Apart from India, other members are Russia, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Rajnath Singh said that though India had joined the organisation in 2017, historical and civilisational relations and geographical connections make India inseparable from the SCO.
“India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners bilaterally on the basis of equality, mutual respect and understanding,” he emphasised.
Stressing on the importance of the regional group, Rajnath Singh said since the SCO’s encompass nearly half the human population on our planet, the collective stake of this body is to create a safe, secure and stable region that contributes towards progress and improvement of human development.
He pointed out that it is in the same spirit that India helps the people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far India has completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and continuing with some more with total development aid of US dollar 3 billion.
Speaking about the geo-strategic location of India that makes it both a Eurasian land power and also a stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific, the Defence Minister added, “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.”
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 also pointed out that the Indian 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.
The Defence Minister also mentioned India’s ‘Vande Bharat’ logistic service that during the first and second wave of pandemic brought back over 70 lakh stranded Indians from various locations across the globe.
“India plans to produce well over 250 crore doses of vaccines between August till December this year and is determined to vaccinate at least 90 crore adult Indians besides helping other friendly countries with vaccine,” Rajnath Singh informed the SCO. The Defence Minister 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.” (UNI)