Prime Minister Narendra Modi also provided a mantra, secure…S’ for security for citizens, ‘E’ for economic development, ‘C’ for connectivity, ‘U’ for unity, ‘R’ for respect of sovereignty and integrity, and ‘E for environment protection.
The two-day SCO summit in Qingdao had a number of important takeaways. The SCO is one of the world’s largest regional organizations, by population and geographical areas, and the presence of three global powers China, Russia and India adds to its stature. More than ten documents were exchanged related to security, economy and culture. In his address, PM Modi put forward a unique concept of ‘SECURE’ which in essence describes to purpose of the grouping.
Emphasis on Security
Member countries pledged to work together on issues of regional security and sustainability. The SCO expressed a renewed resolve to fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism and called for unified global counter-terrorism front under the coordination of the U.N.
They emphasized the importance of putting in place measures for peaceful resolution of international and regional conflicts. They strongly opposed technical or financial support to terrorist groups in any form. PM Modi raised the issue of terrorism prominently.
Emphasis on Unity
The summit emphasized working together towards good neighborhood relations and enhanced cooperation towards achieving the 2025 SCO development strategy
A New Engine of Growth
The SCO summit decided to strengthen development cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect and benefit for all. All countries agreed to improve ease of doing business and facilitate small and medium enterprises.
Emphasis on connectivity
The SCO Members agreed to improve connectivity between the regions. PM Modi highlighted the importance of transport corridors and said connectivity should increase people to people linkages. PM said that India welcomes projects which are inclusive, and transparent, and respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of member countries. PM Modi said connectivity is important for the economic development of the region.
Close Cultural Ties
SCO members vowed to increase cultural exchanges to promote respect for cultural diversity and social values of the region. PM Modi suggested organizing an SCO Food Festival and a Buddhist festival to promote connectivity.
Message to the World
The SCO sends out an important message from Asia in that it took place when the G-7 summit was also taking place in Canada and while the G-7 was marred by reports of discord among its members, the SCO showed a commitment to shared values and harmony between member countries.
Agreement with China
On the sidelines of the SCO summit, India and China signed two important bilateral agreements, one on exchange of information related to flow of water in the Brahmaputra river and the second on the purchase of rice including non-basmati rice from India.
All in all, the SCO summit provided a blue print for improved connectivity and economic development, accompanied by enhanced cooperation in the area of regional security.