The channel of finances for terrorist activities must be blocked without distinction, he said

Speaking at the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Goa on Friday (May 5, 2023), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasized that there can be no justification for terrorism and that it must be eliminated in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism.

In his openening remarks at the meeting, he said that the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical upheavals continue to disrupt international supply networks and institutions, but the world cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the threat of terrorism, which is still present and persistent.

"While the world was engaged in facing Covid and its consequences, the menace of terrorism continues unabated. Taking our eyes of this menace would be detrimental to our security interests. We firmly believe that there can be no justification for terrorism and it must be stopped in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism," he said.

The channel of finances for terrorist activities must be seized and blocked without distinction, he added. He also noted that combating terrorism is one of the original mandates of the SCO.

EAM Jaishakar highlighted the multiple challenges confronting the world as result of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical upheavals. "These events have disrupted global supply chains, leading to serious impact on the supply of energy, food and fertilizers and cascading effects on developing nations," he pointed out.

Urging a collective effort to address them, he said that with more than 40% of the world's population within the SCO, its collective decisions would surely have a global impact.

Speaking about the Afghanistan crisis, he said the SCO's efforts should be directed towards the welfare of the Afghan people. "Our immediate priorities include providing humanitarian assistance, ensuring a truly inclusive and representative government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking and preserving the rights of women, children and minorities," he said.

In his remarks, EAM Jaishankar emphasized India's aspirations for the SCO, including the need to create a "SECURE" SCO which stands for Security, Economic Growth, Connectivity, Unity, Respect for Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity, and Environmental Protection. He noted that during its current presidency, India had successfully finished more than 100 meetings and activities, including 15 ministerial-level gatherings, and that Member States, Observers, and Dialogue Partners of the SCO had enthusiastically participated.

EAM Jaishankar highlighted that India has consistently supported multilateral strategies for resolving international problems and has been a willing participant in sharing its knowledge and experience.

He thanked the member states for supporting India's request to establish two new working groups on traditional medicines and startups & innovation, as well as its willingness to share its expertise in these areas with other members.

EAM Jaishankar also spoke about the need to modernize SCO. "SCO is in its third decade of existence and this is an opportune time for its reform and modernization to keep the organization relevant in a rapidly transforming world. I am pleased to note that the discussions on the issues of reform and modernization of the organization have already commenced," he said.

Noting that India has proposed a New Delhi Declaration as an SCO Summit Declaration and four other thematic joint statements on cooperation in De-radicalization strategies, promotion of millets, sustainable lifestyles to address climate change and digital transformation, EAM Jaishankar sought the support of SCO member states for the early finalization of the documents.

He also sought their support for the long-standing demand of India to make English as the third Official language of the Organization. "This will enable a deeper engagement with English-speaking Member States of the SCO and will take the work of this organization to a wider global audience," he explained.