New Delhi: Emphasising that any form of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism, is a “crime against humanity”, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that the menace must be dealt with unitedly.
Addressing the SCO meet in Tashkent, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, he made an oblique reference to Pakistan’s support to terrorist activities against India. With defence ministers of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) member states, including Pakistan’s Khawaja Muhammad Asif, listening, Singh said the grouping must work together to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and asserted that Afghan territory must not be used as launch pads for terrorist activities.
The Minister reaffirmed India’s resolve to fight all forms of terrorism to make the region peaceful, secure and stable. He expressed India’s “concern” over the situation in Ukraine and noted that New Delhi supports a resolution of the crisis through talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
Singh said there is a need to strengthen ties among the SCO member states bilaterally and within the framework of the organisation on the basis of “equality, respect and mutual understanding”. He also invited all SCO member states to visit India next year when New Delhi takes over the presidency of the grouping from Uzbekistan.
The SCO comprises India, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. “Terrorism is one of the most serious challenges to global peace and security. India reiterates its resolve to fight all forms of terrorism and make the region peaceful, secure and stable,” he said. “We seek to develop joint institutional capabilities with the SCO member states, which, while respecting the sensitivities of each country, create the spirit of cooperation among individuals, societies and nations,” he added.
Singh asserted that terrorism in any form, including cross-border terrorism, committed by anyone and for whatever purpose, is a crime against humanity, seen as an oblique reference to Pakistan. The defence minister also voiced India’s full support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan, while highlighting the need for respecting its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, national unity and non-interference in internal affairs.
He urged all parties to encourage authorities in Afghanistan to achieve national reconciliation through dialogue and negotiation and establish a broad-based, inclusive and representative political structure in the country, according to a statement issued by the defence ministry.
The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations.