New Delhi: At the meeting of national security advisors, India on Wednesday, March 29, highlighted the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s emphasis on respect for the territorial integrity of states and jointly combatting terrorism in all its manifestations.
Without explicitly naming the Ukraine crisis or bilateral disputes, India’s NSA Ajit Doval said that the SCO region was also beset with the “challenges” faced globally due to recent developments. “Global security is faced with several challenges on account of developments in recent years. The SCO region is also affected by the impact of these challenges,” he said.
Doval then listed the clauses in the SCO charter, which could be helpful “to show us the path forward”.
“The charter calls upon member states to have mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity of states and inviolability of state borders, non-use of force or threat of its use in international relations and seeking no unilateral military superiority in adjacent areas,” he said.
At the SCO, bilateral issues are not raised. However, any mention of the importance of maintaining state borders and their inviolability by India could be interpreted as alluding to the ongoing two-year-long military confrontation with China.
He also noted that the SCO charter urges members to develop relations with other states and to “cooperate in the prevention of international conflicts and in their peaceful settlement.”
“To my mind, if we follow these unexceptionable principles, we can make a significant contribution to our regional security and, indeed, global security. India’s foreign policy is based on these very principles and reﬂects our commitment to the charter of the SCO,” said Doval.
On the issue of terrorism, he said that all countries should fulfil the obligations enshrined in various counter-terrorism protocols, including several UN Security Council resolutions. “This is in line with the charter of the SCO to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism in all their manifestations”.
The Russian embassy tweeted that the secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev underlined the need for “specific measures to jointly fight transnational organized crime, terrorism & the revival of neo-Nazism”. Russia also asserted its commitment to principles of equal and indivisible security and respect for the fundamental norms of international law.
Patrushev emphasised specific measures to jointly fight transnational organized crime, terrorism & the revival of neo-Nazism. He also underscored #Russia’s commitment to the #SCO’s principles of equal & indivisible security, respect for the fundamental norms of international law https://t.co/vNciZI0kla
— Russia in India 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbIndia) March 29, 2023
The meeting of the SCO NSAs was held in hybrid mode, with five out of seven countries sending their representatives to New Delhi. However, China’s state councillor, Wang Xiaohong, and Pakistan’s secretary of the national security division, Amir Hassan, took part virtually.
Doval also said that connectivity projects should be “consultative, transparent and participatory, and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries”. Since joining SCO as a full member in 2017, India has been the only member to opt out of the paragraph in joint statements affirming support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
As per official sources, the members discussed regional and global challenges, including “an unstable Afghanistan facing a humanitarian crisis and the increasing spectre of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism”.