Published On: Sun, Jun 10th, 2018

Connectivity projects should respect country’s sovereignty: PM Modi

Beijing: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said connectivity projects are India’s priority but such programmes should respect any country’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

He also raked up the issue of terrorism in Afghanistan and how the country is battling against it

At the restricted session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao, Modi said connectivity not only meant physical contact but also people-to-people contact.

New Delhi opposes Beijing’s Belt and Road project, whose key artery cuts through the disputed Kashmir held by Pakistan and claimed by India.

“We have again reached a stage where physical and digital connectivity is changing the definition of geography. Therefore, connectivity with our neighbourhood and in the SCO region is our priority,” Modi said.

“We welcome any new connectivity project, which is inclusive, sustainable and transparent and respects country’s sovereignty and regional integrity.

“India’s active participation in the development of international North South Transport Corridor, Chabahar port shows our commitment,” the Prime Minister said.

He also raked up the issue of terrorism in Afghanistan and how the country is battling against it.

Modi said security was also a priority for India.

He also coined an acronym for the word SECURE: ‘S’ for security, ‘E’ for economic development, ‘C’ for connectivity in the region, ‘U’ for unity, ‘R’ for respect of sovereignty and integrity, and ‘E’ for environment protection.

Meanwhile, India refused to back China’s Belt and Road project at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit which ended in the Chinese city of Qingdao on Sunday.

The name of all member countries except India figured in the paragraph of the joint declaration endorsing Beijing’s multi-billion dollar project.

India on earlier occasions too has not shown support for the project, the key artery of which goes through the disputed part of Kashmir claimed by New Delhi and held by Pakistan.

“The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan reaffirm their support for the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ proposed by China and affirm that all parties should implement the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ to promote the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative,” the declaration said.

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