PM Modi calls for SCO template to fight radicalization, extremism
(Sourced from PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday pitched for developing a common template by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to fight radicalization, saying it is a challenge to peace, security, and trust deficit in the region as reflected by recent developments in Afghanistan. In a virtual address at the annual SCO summit, Modi also called for enhancing connectivity between the landlocked Central Asian countries and India.
However, at the same time, he noted that connectivity projects should be consultative, transparent and they should be implemented while respecting the territorial integrity of all countries. The prime minister talked about Sufism and the cultural heritage of Central Asia, and said on the basis of this historical heritage, the SCO should develop a common template to fight radicalization and extremism.
"The 20th anniversary of the SCO is also a suitable occasion to think about the future of the SCO," he said. "I believe that the biggest challenges in this area are related to peace, security, and trust deficit, and the root cause of these problems is increasing radicalization," the prime minister added.
He said the recent developments in Afghanistan have made this challenge more apparent and the SCO should take an initiative on this issue. "If we look at history, we'll find that the region of Central Asia has been a bastion of moderate and progressive cultures and values. Traditions like Sufism have flourished over the centuries and spread throughout the world," the prime minister said.
"We can still see their influence in the cultural heritage of this region. On the basis of this historical heritage of Central Asia, SCO should develop a common template to fight radicalization and extremism," he said. Modi said the SCO should work to develop a strong network among moderate, tolerant, and inclusive institutions and traditions associated with Islam.
"In this context, I appreciate the useful work being done by SCO-RATS. We expect our SCO partners to actively participate in the calendar of activities that have been built for India's Presidency of SCO-RATS," he added. India has shown keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure, which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defense.
The prime minister said that one of the main reasons for the success of SCO is that its core focus has been on the priorities of the region. "My suggestions on radicalization, connectivity, and people-to-people relations will further strengthen this role of SCO," he said. The prime minister said fighting radicalization is also necessary for the bright future of our younger generations.
The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, is an eight-member economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organizations. India and Pakistan became the SCO's permanent members in 2017. The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.