PM Modi hits out at China, Pakistan at virtual SCO meet

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today virtually addressed members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which included Pakistan's Imran Khan and China's Xi Jinping. This was the 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State held in the backdrop of major regional and global developments.

This was the first time since May when the LAC standoff started that PM Modi and Xi Jinping came face-to-face although virtually. The PM also took a swipe at China and said that to further strengthen connectivity it’s “important we move forward keeping in mind respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Without naming Pakistan, he also berated Imran Khan for seeking to drag in bilateral issues (Kashmir, for instance) before the SCO.

As expected, PM Modi spoke vociferously against terrorism and said that India has always spoken against smuggling of illegal arms, drugs and money laundering.

"The United Nations has completed its 75 years. But despite many successes, the basic goal of the United Nations is still incomplete. The world struggling with the economic and social suffering of the epidemic is expected to bring radical changes in the system of the UN," PM Modi said.

"A reformed multilateralism that will reflect today's global realities and discuss topics such as expectations of all stakeholders, contemporary challenges and human welfare. We expect full support from SCO member nations in this endeavour," he added.

The PM assured member states that India will use its vaccine production, and distribution capacity to help humanity in fighting COVID-19. He also pointed out that in this difficult time of unprecedented epidemic, India's pharma industry sent essential medicines to over 150 nations.

This is the 3rd meeting in which New Delhi participated as a full member. It was granted the observer status of SCO in 2005 and in June 2017 it became a full member.

The summit is expected to conclude with the release of a Moscow declaration which will reflect the broad agenda of the bloc for 2021.

Incidentally, India will be hosting the next SCO food festival.