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SCO Summit: India & China Call For Peace, Putin Opposes Western Sanctions

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India hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) 2023 virtually which was attended by Presidents of China and Russia, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin respectively.

Modi’s attack on terrorism

Addressing the virtual summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday indirectly attacked Pakistan by using the term “cross-border terrorism”. He said, “Some countries use cross-border terrorism as instrument in sync with their policy. SCO must not hesitate to criticise such countries,” Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif was also present at the summit. He continued, “Terrorism has become a threat to regional as well as global peace. There is a need for decisive action to deal with it. We have to fight together against terrorism that may be in any form or manifestation.”

He also said that SCO has developed into a crucial platform for peace, prosperity and development in Eurasia over the past 20 years.

In his speech, the Indian Prime Minister highlighted the role of India in constructing five pillars of cooperation within the SCO. These are traditional medicine, digital inclusion, Startup and innovation, and shared Buddhist heritage. He also urged the international community to come together and become united in fighting the challenges of fertilisers, fuel and food ahead of the world.

Xi calls for “regional peace”

China’s President Xi Jinping urged SCO leaders to safeguard “regional peace”. While address the meeting, he “called for efforts to safeguard regional peace and ensure common security and follow the right direction and enhance their solidarity and mutual trust.”

Jinping did not directly pointed out Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said, “The SCO should…promote political settlement of international and regional hotspot issues, and build a solid barrier for regional security”. He called for “opposing hegemonism and power politics” while indirectly referring to the US-led Western nations. His criticism of the West went beyond politics to “unilateral sanctions.” He added that the country rejects the “generalisation of the concept of national security”, “building walls and barriers” and “decoupling and breaking chains”.

Putin urges for trade in local currencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin cleared that Russia will fight against Western sanctions and ‘provocations’. As a step against Western sanctions, Putin said that the Eurasian country will back the group and cooperate with the SCO nations in settling trade in local currencies. He asked the member nations to follow the process of trade settlement in Roubles and Yuan, as taking place between Russia and China.

In a strong attack to the West, Putin said, “Russia counters all these external sanctions, pressures and provocations and continues to develop as never before”. He also cautioned that the likelihood of war and a world economic crisis were both growing.

Iran becomes member of SCO

Iran has officially joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as a full member. Iran is one of India’s neighbours in SCO family. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Iran would become a new member of the group and hailed the signing of the Memorandum of Obligation for Belarus’ SCO membership. “I am pleased that Iran will become a new member of the SCO family today.” Besides, Putin welcome its neighbour Belarus’s application to become a permanent member of the SCO in 2024. It is set to sign a memorandum of obligations to become a member state.

Putin appeared on the world stage for the first time since the once day armed mutiny by its Wagner Group in June end.

The SCO was formed in 2001 by Russia and China. It initially included former Soviet central Asian states but India and Pakistan joined the group later. The eight-member political and security group mainly focuses on countering Western influence in Eurasia.

India does not blame Russia for the war and has increased trade with the latter by purchasing Russian oil to a record level that has angered Western nations.

For the first time since the two leaders attended the G20 meeting in Indonesia in November, Modi and Xi appeared on the same virtual platform at the summit. The two nuclear-armed Asian powers have been at loggerheads in the past three years involving a deadlock on their Himalayan frontier.

Last month India confirmed that the SCO summit will be a virtual event, but did not give any reasons for that.  It handed over the presidency of the bloc to Kazakhstan at the summit.

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