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Need to root out terrorism collectively and fix accountability on its supporters: Rajnath at SCO def ministers' meet

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addresses during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers' Meeting, in New Delhi, Friday, April 28, 2023. A PTI photo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member nations to collectively work towards eliminating terrorism in all its forms and fix accountability on its supporters, in an oblique reference to Pakistan.

Chairing a conclave of defence ministers from SCO countries, Singh said India envisioned a robust framework of regional cooperation which "mutually respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member states by taking care of their legitimate interests".

With Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu listening, Singh also said that New Delhi strives to further bolster trust and cooperation among the members of the grouping as it believes in maintaining peace and security based on the provisions of the UN charter.

Elaborating on the need to contain terrorism effectively, Singh asserted that any kind of terrorist act or support to it in any form is a major crime against humanity and peace and prosperity cannot coexist with this menace.

"If a nation shelters terrorists, it not only poses a threat to others but to itself too. The radicalisation of youth is a cause of concern not only from the point of view of security, but it is also a major obstacle in the path of socio-economic progress of society," Singh said.

"If we want to make the SCO a stronger and more credible international organisation, our top-most priority should be to effectively deal with terrorism," he added.

Except for Pakistan, the defence ministers of all other member countries attended the meeting in person. It is learnt that the Pakistani representative joined the deliberations virtually.

Sharing his insights on the vision to ensure collective prosperity, Singh called for concerted efforts by the SCO member states so that the region, with limitless possibilities in today's multilateral world, shifts to the mindset of 'great gain from win-win paradigm' from 'great game of zero-sum, win-lose paradigm'.

"India has always followed the principle of 'Let us walk together & move forward together'. Every era has a zeitgeist (defining idea). The zeitgeist of the present era is 'win-win cooperation for the great gain'," he said.

India hosted the meeting in its capacity as chair of the grouping.

The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India and Pakistan became permanent members in 2017.

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