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Entry of India and Pakistan to bolster SCO’s strength: President Xi

The entry of India and Pakistan into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation would bolster its strength, Chinese President Xi Jinping said today as he welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain to the eight-member grouping.

Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan President Hussain attended the summit for the first time after both countries were were admitted as members of the Beijing-based Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) last year.

Xi, also host of the 18th SCO summit, in his opening remarks said that the presence of Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan President Hussain at the meeting here in the east Chinese port city was “of great historic significance.”

“The SCO enjoys strong vitality and momentum of cooperation, Xi said, attributing the organisation’s standing to the Shanghai Spirit. He called for the pursuit of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

“We should reject the Cold War mentality and confrontation between blocs and oppose the practices of seeking absolute security of oneself at the expense of the security of other countries, so as to achieve security of all,” he said.

He said countries should work for promoting open and inclusive cooperation for win-win outcomes.

“We should reject self-centered, short-sighted and closed-door policies. We should uphold WTO rules and support the multilateral trading system so as to build an open world economy,” Xi said amidst a looming trade war between China and the United States over tariffs.

Later, addressing a press conference at the conclusion of the summit, the Chinese President said the SCO members will uphold the authority and efficacy of WTO rules, strengthen an open, inclusive, transparent, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading regime, and oppose trade protectionism of any form.

“We point out that economic globalization and regional integration are the compelling trend of our times,” Xi said.

He said all parties will continue to work in line with the principle of mutual benefit to improve regional economic cooperation arrangements, deepen cooperation in business, investment, finance, connectivity and agriculture, advance trade and investment facilitation to deliver benefits to the people and add fresh impetus to global growth.

“We have agreed to abide by the goals and principles of the SCO Charter, carry forward the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilisations and pursuit of common development,” he said.

The SCO members have agreed to jointly pursue regional peace, stability and development by promoting good-neighborliness and friendship and deepening practical cooperation, Xi said.

Earlier, in his address, Xi called for adhering to extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, steadily reforming and improving the global governance system, and pushing all countries to jointly build a community with a shared future for humanity.

The SCO member states need to actively implement the 2019-2021 programme of cooperation for combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, he said. Member nations should enhance cooperation on defence security, law enforcement security and information security, Xi said.

Xi said that the SCO members need to build a powerful engine to achieve common development.

China will set up a 30-billion-yuan (USD 4.7 billion) equivalent special lending facility within the framework of the SCO Inter-bank Consortium, Xi said.

The SCO has eight member countries which represents around 42 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.

Besides Prime Minister Modi and President Xi, other leaders attending the summit include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became its members last year.

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