The 22nd Meeting of Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022
The SCO has decided to develop common principles and approaches to form a list of organisations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the member states
Samarkand: In a bid to combat the security threat posed by militant groups, the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) plan to prepare a unified list of terrorist, separatist and extremist organisations whose activities are banned on their territories.
In a joint declaration issued at the end of the annual summit of the eight-member bloc in the historic Uzbek city of Samarkand on Friday, the leaders of the SCO member states, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed deep concern over the security threat posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations and strongly condemned terrorist acts around the world.
“The member states, while reaffirming a strong commitment to fight terrorism, separatism and extremism, resolve to continue to take active measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, cut off terrorist financing channels, suppress terrorist recruitment and cross-border movement, counter extremism, the radicalisation of youth, the spread of terrorist ideology, and eliminate sleeper cells and places used as terrorist safe havens,” it said.
“In accordance with their national legislation and on the basis of consensus, the member states will seek to develop common principles and approaches to form a unified list of terrorist, separatist and extremist organisations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO member states,” said the Samarkand declaration signed by the leaders of the eight-member grouping.
Briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that each of the SCO member states was very very clear in recognising the threat that this challenge poses to the region and beyond.
To counter the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, the SCO members called for the compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons. “They stress the importance of the early destruction of all declared stockpiles of chemical weapons,” the declaration said.
On the Afghanistan issue, the leaders called for creating an inclusive government in the war-torn country, which is now ruled by the Taliban.
“The member states consider it extremely important to establish an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of representatives of all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society,” the declaration said.
The grouping also advocated the formation of Afghanistan as an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free from terrorism, war and drugs.
On Iran, the declaration said that the SCO member states consider the sustained implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme important and called upon all participants to rigorously implement their commitments for the full and effective implementation of the document.
It said the impacts of global climate change and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic pose additional challenges to economic growth, social well-being and food security, as well as to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“To this end, new approaches are required to promote more equitable and effective international cooperation and sustainable economic development,” it added.
The member states reaffirmed their commitment to a more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on the universally recognised principles of international law, multilateralism, equal, common, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security.
The SCO called for creating a transparent international energy market and reducing the existing trade barriers.
It called for the effectiveness of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the key forum for discussing the international trade agenda and adopting the rules of the multilateral trading system.
They emphasised the need for early and inclusive reform of the organisation, focusing on its development and adaptation to modern economic realities, as well as effective implementation of monitoring, negotiation and dispute settlement functions, the declaration said.
The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, is an eight-member economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations. India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India has shown keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.