India, Pak become full members of SCO, Modi takes veiled dig at Islamabad

9 Jun 2017

India and Pakistan today became full members of the SCO with Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly pitching for coordinated efforts by the countries of the grouping to combat terrorism and enhance connectivity without impinging on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In his address at the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Kazakh capital, 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," Modi said, adding that there was a need for concerted efforts to defeat terrorism and radicalisation. The Prime Minister stressed on coordinated efforts to fight the menace of terrorism, including radicalisation, recruitment, training and financing of terrorists. "I have full confidence that the India-SCO cooperation will give a new direction and strength to the fight against terrorism," Modi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif exchanged pleasantries at the cultural gala here, amid frosty bilateral ties, deadlocked talks and escalation of hostilities along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. It was the first encounter between Modi and Sharif after their last meeting in Lahore on December 25, 2015, when the Indian prime minister made a surprise stopover at the historic city. The two Prime Ministers are here to attend the summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) where India and Pakistan will be inducted as full members of the bloc tomorrow. Official sources said Modi and Sharif were in the Leaders Lounge at the Astana Opera tonight before the SCO concert where they exchanged greetings. Since it was the first occasion when the two leaders came across each other after Sharif's operation, PM Modi enquired about his health. He also enquired about Sharif's mother and family, a top source said. Sharif had undergone an open-heart surgery in June last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today underscored the need to respect each other's "core concerns" and appropriately handle the disputes as he held "cordial" talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid tensions in ties over a host of issues including the CPEC and India's NSG bid. The two leaders met in Astana, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.