India on Friday signed the memorandum of obligation in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Speaking at the annual two-day summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted India’s historical linkages with the region to drive home the point that the country’s membership to the SCO would stretch the region’s boundaries from the Pacific to Europe; and from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean. “India is not new to region. It’s not just geography that connects us, our historic linkages with you are centuries old,” said Modi.
Modi further said that India would no doubt benefit from SCO’s strengths in energy, natural resources and industry, but India’s strong economy and its vast market could drive economic growth in the SCO region.
The prime minister also vowed to adopt zero tolerance and a comprehensive approach in fighting terrorism at all levels. Pointing to Afghanistan, PM Modi said a stable, independent and peaceful Afghanistan is necessary for greater security and stability in SCO region.
Modi is on a two-day visit to attend the annual summit of the SCO with an aim to expand India’s engagement with the China-dominated grouping in areas of security, defence and energy. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi raised the NSG issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping and asked the latter to view India’s application for membership fairly, objectively and on merit.