Collective action necessary to confront terrorism: India in SCO

NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, the Foreign Minister, S, proposed a collective action by the (SCO) to confront the overwhelming threat of terrorism.

Jaishankar made the comments in a video conference of foreign ministers from SCO member countries, an influential China-dominated bloc that focuses on political and security-related issues.

It was chaired by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and was attended by his counterparts from all SCO countries, including Wang Yi from China and Pakistan 's Shah Mehmood Qureshi .

The conference deliberated extensively on the evolution of the situation in Afghanistan, and held that the peace process must take into account the aspirations of the Afghan people and the interests of neighboring countries.

Jaishankar stressed that the security challenges facing the region are not bound by physical or political limits, and that terrorism remains the overwhelming threat to security and stability in the SCO region, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said that collective action would be required to meet the challenge.

The conference deliberated on the coronavirus crisis and possible areas of coordination among the SCO member countries to face the commercial, economic and social consequences of the pandemic.

Jaishankar reaffirmed India 's strong commitment to the joint fight against COVID-19 pandemic and its readiness to share information, expertise and best practices to the SCO member states, the MEA said in a statement.

The chancellors also discussed preparations for the next SCO summit in Saint Petersburg.

The Foreign Minister also highlighted initiatives and several decisive steps taken by India in the wake of the pandemic, including the announcement of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package to stimulate economic growth.

He also indicated that India is committed to working towards creating a favorable environment for mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation among SCO members, the MEA said.

India became a full member of the China-dominated grouping in 2017 and New Delhi 's entry into it increased the bloc' s heft in regional geo-politics, besides giving it a pan-Asian hue.

India is also interested in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) that specifically addresses security and defense-related issues.

India has been an observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally participated in the cluster's ministerial-level meetings that focus primarily on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.

Along with India , Pakistan was also granted membership of the SCO 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.