Modi says SCO must make efforts to develop reliable and diversified supply chains in the region
Samarkand, September 16, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) must make efforts to develop reliable, resilient and diversified supply chains in the region.
"This will require better connectivity, as well as it will be important that we all give each other full right to transit," he said at the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) being held in in this historic Uzbek city.
Modi said that at a time when the whole world is facing the challenges of economic recovery after the pandemic, the role of SCO becomes very important.
"SCO member countries contribute about 30 per cent of global GDP, and 40 per cent of the world's population also lives in SCO countries," he pointed out.
The Prime Minister said India supported greater cooperation and mutual trust among SCO members.
"The pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine caused many obstacles in global supply chains, due to which the whole world is facing an unprecedented energy and food crisis," he said.
Modi said the government was making progress on making India a manufacturing hub.
"India's young and talented workforce makes us naturally competitive. India's economy is expected to grow by 7.5 per cent this year, which will be the highest among the world's largest economies. A lot of focus is also being given on the proper use of technology in our people-centric development model. We are supporting innovation in every sector. Today, there are more than 70,000 start-ups in India, of which more than 100 are unicorns. Our experience can also be useful for many other SCO members. For this purpose, we are ready to share our experience with SCO member countries by establishing a new Special Working Group on Start-ups and Innovation," he said.
The Prime Minister said the world faced another major challenge today – and that is ensuring the food security of people.
"One possible solution to this problem is to promote the cultivation and consumption of millets. Millets are a superfood that has been grown for thousands of years, not just in SCO countries, but in many parts of the world, and is a traditional, nutritious, and low-cost alternative to dealing with the food crisis. The year 2023 will be celebrated as the UN International Year of Millets. We should consider organizing a 'Millet Food Festival' under the SCO," he said.
He mentioned India was today one of the most affordable destinations for medical and wellness tourism in the world.
He said the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine was inaugurated in Gujarat in April 2022. This will be WHO's first and only global centre for traditional medicine.
"We must increase cooperation on traditional medicine among SCO countries. For this, India will take the initiative for a new SCO Working Group on Traditional Medicine," he added.
Before the deliberations at the first in-person summit of the organisation in two years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi posed for a photograph with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other SCO leaders.
Modi also met Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan.
The Prime Minister's Office on Friday tweeted some pictures with the caption, "PM @narendramodi at the SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan."
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagch tweeted: "Together for the region! PM @narendramodi joins the leaders of SCO Member States for discussions on topical, regional and international issues, including regional peace and security, trade and connectivity, culture and tourism."
Apart from attending the summit, the Prime Minister will hold bilateral meetings with some of the leaders attending the meeting.
The regional multilateral organisation was set up in 2001 with Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as members, while India and Pakistan became full members in 2017.
The Council of the SCO Heads of State is the highest decision-making body of the organisation and meets for an annual summit that is hosted by a member state of the SCO.
Prime Minister Modi has been leading the Indian delegation to the SCO Summit every year, since India became its full member in 2017. During the last two summits in 2020 and 2021, the summit was held in the virtual format because of the COVID-19 pandemic.