India’s minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, said on Tuesday that terrorism was the enemy of basic human rights and efforts to counter it should include identifying states that finance terror groups, PTI reported.
She made the statement – an apparent reference to Pakistan – at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Foreign Ministers’ meeting in China. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif was also present at the event.
“We strongly believe that our fight against terrorism should not only seek to eliminate terrorists but should also identify and take strong measures against states that encourage, support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups,” Swaraj said.
She urged members of the organisation to overcome their differences and unite against terrorism. “We should also urgently resolve to establish a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that India proposed more than two decades ago at the United Nations,” Swaraj said. “We are determined to consistently strengthen cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation framework for comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.”
Moreover, the minister did not name China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but raised India’s concerns about the project, Hindustan Times reported. “Connectivity with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries is India’s priority,” Swaraj said. “We want connectivity to pave the way for cooperation and trust between our societies. For this, respect for sovereignty is essential. Inclusiveness, transparency and sustainability are imperative.”
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is one of the key projects of the initiative, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. In the communique released after the foreign ministers’ meeting, Swaraj did not express support for the Belt and Road initiative, unlike the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, who “reaffirmed support” for the project, Reuters reported.
Swaraj reiterated New Delhi’s stand on globalisation, and its role in international trade. “India is committed to working with the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organisation] to strengthen our economic and investment ties,” she said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about ensuring stable global development and inclusive globalisation, when he meets him at an informal summit in Wuhan on April 27 and April 28.