India and Pakistan on Friday joined the SCO with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that unless strong and coordinated efforts are made, the issues of radicalisation and financing and training of terrorists would be impossible to address, in a veiled dig at Islamabad.
"Whether it is the issue of radicalisation, recruitment of terrorists, their training and financing, unless we take coordinated and strong efforts, it is impossible to find a solution," PM Modi said in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
In his address at the annual summit of the SCO in the Kazakh capital, PM Modi said India's entry into the SCO family will give a new momentum to the grouping in dealing with terrorism and other pressing challenges facing the region.
"Terrorism is a major threat to humanity," PM Modi said, adding that there was a need for concerted efforts to defeat terrorism and radicalisation. "I have full confidence that the India-SCO cooperation will give a new direction and strength to the fight against terrorism," PM Modi said.
Terrorism is violation of human rights and basic human values. The fight against terrorism is an important part of the SCO cooperation, he said. The Prime Minister also spoke of the need for enhancing connectivity in the region and said it was the key for boosting trade and investment.
"We have extensive cooperation with SCO nations. We want to deepen the focus on connectivity," he said.
The Prime Minister, speaking in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Pakistan Prime Minister among others, also asserted that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be the key factors+ in such a cooperation.
"Connectivity with SCO member countries is a priority for India and we whole-heartedly support it. We want connectivity to pave way for enhancing cooperation and confidence among the societies and young people. Respect to sovereignty and regional integrity is necessary. It is also important to ensure inclusivity and sustainability," the Prime Minister said.
His remarks assume significance as they come weeks after India boycotted the high-profile Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing in which 29 world leaders took part.
India abstained from the Summit+ to highlight its concerns over the $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the pet project of Xi, and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Earlier in the day, PM Modi met Xi on the sidelines of the Summit and underscored the need to respect each other's "core concerns" and appropriately handle the disputes.
During the meeting, PM Modi said India and China should tap their potential in cooperation, strengthen communication and coordination in international affairs, respect each other's core concerns and appropriately handle their disputes.
Following Modi's address at the summit, India and Pakistan became full members of the SCO, the first-ever expansion of the China-dominated security grouping that is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO.
"India and Pakistan are now members of the SCO. It is a very important moment for us," Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is the current chair of the SCO, said, making the announcement of the induction of India and Pakistan, capping a two-year-long accession process.
PM Modi, in his address, also thanked the SCO countries for granting membership to India.
The Prime Minister said India's SCO membership will certainly take cooperation among member states to new heights.
"The drivers of which will be energy, education, agriculture, defence, minerals, capacity building, development partnership, trade and investment," he said.
PM Modi said today marked a historic turn in the SCO's journey and India was ready for an active and positive participation in the grouping. He said the development of the SCO will mean development of a huge section of the world's population. The Prime Minister also called for efforts by the SCO to tackle climate change. He said that the SCO will help in bringing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.