17 September 2021 Last Updated at 8:59 pm | Source: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the 21st summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the capital of Tajikistan via video link.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attended the meeting of the eight-member bloc comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
According to the Dushanbe Declaration, the Member States reaffirmed the importance of continuing to improve the architecture of global economic governance.
The members “will consistently uphold and strengthen an open, transparent, equitable, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system based on the principles and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), promote an open global economy and oppose unilateral protectionist measures that undermine the multilateral trading system and threaten the global economy,” it said.
They also called for strengthening the effectiveness of WTO as the key forum for discussing the international trade agenda and adopting the rules of the multilateral trading system.
“The Member States stand for the promotion of an enabling environment for trade and investment necessary for the gradual free movement of goods, capital, services and technology as envisaged in the SCO Charter. They advocated further elaboration of approaches to address trade facilitation in the region,” it said.
Acknowledging that the coronavirus pandemic has led to global social and economic challenges, they emphasised that the SCO should remain focused on enhancing the coordination of joint activities aimed at overcoming the crisis and reducing its negative consequences.
The effective implementation of adopted long-term programmes and plans in the trade and economic sphere in order to promote socio-economic development of the Member States of the Organisation and the region as a whole will be a priority, it said.
The Member States also reaffirmed to further strengthen cooperation in trade, production, transport, energy, finance, investment, agriculture, customs, telecommunications, innovation and other areas of mutual interest.
The members noted that managing the financial and economic risks posed by climate change, resource depletion, environmental degradation, and the provision of resources for sustainable development is becoming important.
Countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reaffirmed their support for China”s One Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), also known as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and noted the ongoing work to jointly implement the project, including efforts to build a bridge between the Eurasian Economic Union and the OBOR.
India has strong reservations over Chinese President Xi Jinping”s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is officially declared as its flagship project.
New Delhi has gone public with its concern on Beijing”s strategic initiative at various international fora over the past years. The government is specifically concerned over the CPEC that passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
Emphasising the importance to utilise the potential of the countries of the region, international organisations and multilateral associations, the Member States also noted the idea of establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the SCO countries, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other interested States and multilateral associations.
They also decided to continue to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in the banking and financial sectors and consider opportunities to use national currencies in mutual settlements between the SCO members.
“The Member States will continue consultations on the establishment of the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account) in order to implement the common understanding reached at the highest level and ensure financial support for project activities,” the declaration said.
The SCO members said that they will continue to unlock the potential of the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Association as well as develop joint business initiatives to strengthen cooperation for the implementation of finance, high technology, transport and communications infrastructure, energy, agriculture and investment projects in the SCO region.
“Member States believe that the development of services and trade in services, support for micro, small and medium enterprises and promotion of e-commerce within the SCO is of great importance for economic development, increase in employment and welfare growth,” it said.
They also noted the relevance of cooperation in the field of intellectual property protection, including the exchange of experiences in the protection of rights and development of the intellectual property system.
They also advocated the promotion of industrial cooperation within the SCO, including through fairs and exhibitions and decided to establish a mechanism for the Meeting of Ministers of Industry of SCO members.
They also advocated further strengthening the role of the SCO in addressing the issues of food security, strengthening the world food market, and developing the production of organic and environment-friendly products. PTI RS AKJ RS
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