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Respecting Sovereignty: PM Modi’s Stand Against China’s BRI at the SCO Summit

PM modi at virtual SCO Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) virtual Summit held significant weight as he subtly criticized China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Earlier the sco summit 2022 was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

PM modi at virtual SCO Summit
SCO summit

While highlighting the importance of connectivity projects, PM Modi skillfully emphasized the need to uphold member states’ sovereignty and regional integrity. This subliminal jab at Chinese initiatives, especially the contentious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), chimed with India’s long-standing territorial dispute worries.

By addressing these issues globally, PM Modi asserted India’s position and called for a more respectful approach to connectivity initiatives.

Enhancing Connectivity with Mutual Respect

Prime Minister Modi acknowledged the crucial role of strong connectivity in regional progress. He stressed that improved connectivity enhances trade and fosters mutual trust among member states.

However, PM Modi made it clear that connectivity initiatives must adhere to the principles outlined in the SCO charter, particularly about respecting the sovereignty and regional integrity of participating countries.

By underscoring these principles, India indirectly voiced its opposition to the CPEC, highlighting its concerns over territorial disputes and violations of sovereignty.

India’s Stand on BRI and CPEC in the SCO Summit

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, during a subsequent media briefing, reiterated India’s position on the Belt and Road Initiative. He stated that PM Modi had emphasized the significance of connectivity for the progress and development of SCO member states.

SCO Summit

However, Kwatra reiterated that connectivity must always respect sovereignty and territorial integrity. Given that the CPEC crosses Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which India regards as an essential component of its sovereign territory, it has consistently opposed the project. This reaffirmation of India’s stance at the SCO summit further underscores its concerns over the BRI.

What is shanghai cooperation organisation (SCO)?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance. It was established in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The organization’s main goals include enhancing cooperation in various fields such as security, counter-terrorism, trade, energy, culture, and technology among its member states. Over the years, SCO has expanded its influence and engagement, admitting new observer states and dialogue partners. It serves as a platform for member countries to address regional challenges and foster mutual development and stability.

What is Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, is a global infrastructure development and connectivity project led by China. Launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the initiative aims to enhance trade and economic cooperation between China and countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, and beyond.

The BRI consists of two main components: the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The Silk Road Economic Belt focuses on land-based infrastructure projects, including railways, highways, pipelines, and economic corridors linking China with Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road emphasizes maritime routes and infrastructure development to connect China with Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Europe through ports, shipping lanes, and maritime infrastructure.

Addressing Terrorism and State-Sponsored Support in SCO Summit

The sco summit 2022 was also focused on combating terrorism, transnational organised crime, separatism, extremism and drug trafficking.

In a different section of his speech, PM Modi highlighted the danger that terrorism poses to both regional and global peace. While not explicitly naming any countries, Modi urged SCO members to denounce nations that support cross-border terrorism as part of their state policies.

This subtle reference was widely interpreted as a critique of Pakistan, whose Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was present during the summit. India has long accused Pakistan of harboring and supporting terrorist groups that attack Indian soil. PM Modi’s remarks highlighted the need for collective action against state-sponsored terrorism.

Conclusion

Prime Minister Modi’s carefully crafted speech at the SCO summit strongly conveyed India’s concerns regarding China’s Belt and Road Initiative. His call for connectivity initiatives to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity demonstrated India’s unwavering stance. PM Modi ensured that his critique resonated with India’s position by implicitly highlighting the disputed nature of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Additionally, his remarks on combating state-sponsored terrorism showcased the need for collective action against this global menace.

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