Monday, July 22, 2024

India Stands Firm As The Lone Dissenter On Belt And Road Initiative At SCO Summit

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India’s unwavering stance against endorsing China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) took center stage at the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. While other member states voiced their support for the initiative, India remains the sole country opposing it. This development highlights India’s commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity while promoting connectivity in the region. The SCO summit also witnessed discussions on joint efforts to counter terrorism and foster cooperation among member states.

Here's a look at everything that went down at the 23rd edition of SCO Summit led
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India’s Firm Opposition

At SCO summit, India reiterates opposition to China's Belt and Road Initiative
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During the SCO summit, India once again declined to ratify the paragraph endorsing the BRI in the New Delhi declaration. This refusal follows a similar stance taken by India at the previous SCO meeting in Samarkand in 2022. Despite the support expressed by countries such as Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, India remains resolute in its opposition to the BRI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his opening remarks, emphasized the need to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states while advocating for connectivity.

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Belt And Road Initiative: An Overview

The BRI, originally known as the “Silk Road Economic Belt,” is a far-reaching infrastructure development strategy spearheaded by China. The initiative aims to invest in various countries and international organizations, with projects encompassing ports, railroads, roads, bridges, airports, power stations, and other critical infrastructure. With over 150 countries and organizations participating, the BRI seeks to enhance connectivity and promote economic cooperation across regions.

Joint Efforts Against Terrorism And Extremism

In addition to the BRI discussions, the SCO summit focused on collective efforts to combat terrorism, religious intolerance, aggressive nationalism, ethnic discrimination, xenophobia, fascism, and chauvinism. The summit emphasized the importance of global cooperation in addressing these pressing challenges. The language used in the Delhi declaration echoed the sentiments expressed in the Samarkand declaration, highlighting the SCO’s commitment to tackling these issues.

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India’s Persistent Position

India’s position on the BRI has remained consistent, reiterating the need to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity while pursuing connectivity. This principled stance distinguishes India as the only SCO member state that opposes the initiative. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra emphasized India’s clear position, underscoring the importance of connectivity that aligns with these fundamental principles.

SCO Summit And India’s Presidency

Why the upcoming Samarkand SCO summit is important and what to expect from the outcome | New Europe
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Under India’s presidency, the SCO has witnessed robust member-state cooperation and extensive discussions on various issues. Fourteen ministerial-level meetings were held among the 134 meetings and events organized during India’s tenure. India remains committed to positively contributing to the SCO and looks forward to a successful summit as the conclusion of its chairmanship. India will continue to hold the rotating presidency until September this year.

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India’s resolute opposition to endorsing the Belt and Road Initiative at the SCO summit showcases its commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty while promoting connectivity. As the lone dissenter among SCO member states, India’s position sends a clear message that connectivity must be pursued while respecting the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. The SCO summit also underscored the importance of joint efforts in countering terrorism and extremism.

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