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May 22, 2019

Sushma Swaraj says India is determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within SCO

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that India is determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO, a framework for comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. She was addressing the meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan today. 

Ms Swaraj said India’s commitment to regional connectivity is evident from its involvement in the International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port, Ashgabat Agreement and India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.

She said India is ready to share its expertise with other SCO Members in fields such as Agriculture, Medicine, Information Technology, Space, Finance and Renewable energy. 

The External Affairs Minister said, India stands committed to any process, which can help Afghanistan emerge as a united, peaceful, secure, stable, inclusive and economically vibrant nation, with guaranteed gender and human rights. She said India is committed to continue working for a favourable environment for SCO member countries' economic activities and to intensify work on the relevant SCO documents dealing with economic and trade cooperation. 

Ms Swaraj said India subscribes to a rule-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system, centred around the World Trade Organization and firmly oppose unilateralism and protectionism. 

The Minister said, India firmly believes in the efficacy of multilateralism and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. She said it is imperative to have comprehensive reforms of the United Nations and its Security Council to make it more representative and effective. 

Ms Swaraj added that SCO must support the member countries’ candidatures for the non-permanent membership of UNSC for the years 2021-2022 and 2027-2028. Ms Swaraj said India is committed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on Combating Climate Change. 

The Minister expressed happiness that an SCO Action Plan for environment protection for 2019-2021 has been finalised and India looks forward to continuing its participation with a keen interest in this area. 

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, both countries committed to exploring the untapped potential and there was visible enthusiasm to expand bilateral relations across all sectors.

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