SCO Summit In Tajikistan: Indian PM flags ‘radicalisation’
Increasing extremism and radicalisation are the biggest threat to global peace, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yesterday at the nine-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, and drew attention to the Taliban's takeover in Afghanistan.
Modi highlighted India's concerns over regional stability and asked the SCO member states, which includes China and Pakistan, to ensure the grouping works closely together on issues like connectivity and trust.
"Today, we can see what is happening in Afghanistan. As SCO members it is a must for us all to ensure that there is no radicalisation and extremism on the rise there," he said at the summit held online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"If we take a look at history, we will find that Central Asia has been a bastion of moderate and progressive cultures and values. Sufism flourished here over the centuries and spread throughout the region and the world. We can still see them in the cultural heritage of this region," the Prime Minister said.
"Based on this historical heritage of Central Asia, SCO should make a common template of fighting radicalisation and extremism. In India, and in almost all the countries of the SCO, there are moderate, tolerant and inclusive institutions and traditions associated with Islam," Modi said.
The US pull-out from Afghanistan after a 20-year war on terror has led to new alignments, with Pakistan seen closely working with the Taliban again and China also coming into the picture by engaging with the new Taliban regime.
India, which had started several infrastructure projects in Afghanistan when US forces were patrolling across the mostly barren and rocky country, had withdrawn its diplomatic mission staff from Kabul, reports NDTV.
At the SCO summit, Russia and China's leaders also urged the new Taliban government to remain peaceful to its neighbours and combat terrorism and drug-trafficking.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke via video link at the summit.
Putin said the organisation, holding its meeting in Tajikistan, should "use its potential" to "stimulate the new Afghan authorities" in fulfilling their promises on normalising life and bringing security in Afghanistan.
The hasty withdrawal of US-led forces had left behind "an open Pandora's box full of problems related to terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime and, unfortunately, religious extremism," Putin said.
Partners should work with the new Afghan government, even if it was not representative, the Russian leader added.
China's Xi said it was necessary to "encourage Afghanistan to put in place a broad-based and inclusive political framework" and to "resolutely fight all forms of terrorism" and live in peace with its neighbours.
Moscow and Beijing have moved to assert themselves as key players in Central Asia, after the United States' hasty retreat from Afghanistan and the Taliban's takeover of the country.
China shares a 76-kilometre-long (47 mile) border with Afghanistan.