SCO Summit: PM Modi Calls For End To State-Sponsored Terrorism
Countries "sponsoring, aiding and funding" terrorism must be held accountable, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit on Friday, in what is seen as a veiled reference to Pakistan whose PM Imran Khan was in the audience.
Addressing the SCO Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, PM Modi also called for a global conference to combat the scourge of terrorism and highlighted the spirit and ideals of the SCO to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
India advocates a terrorism-free society, said the prime minister.
"During my visit to Sri Lanka last Sunday, I visited the St Anthony's church, where I witnessed the ugly face of terrorism which claims the lives of innocents anywhere," Modi said, referring to one of the sites of the April 21 Easter Sunday attacks that killed 258 people in Sri Lanka.
To combat the menace of terrorism, countries will have to come out of their narrow purview to unite against it, Modi said in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Iran President Hassan Rouhani, among others.
Modi also called on the SCO member states to cooperate under the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure against terrorism. "Literature and culture provide our societies a positive activity, especially they stop the spread of radicalisation among the youths in our society," Modi said.
The prime minister also highlighted the importance of a peaceful, united, safe and prosperous Afghanistan as vital for the stability and security in the SCO.
"Our goal is to support the people and the government of Afghanistan for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled comprehensive peace process. We are happy that a further roadmap has been prepared at the SCO Afghanistan Contact Group," he said.
Modi arrived in Bishkek on Thursday for the two-day SCO summit. The SCO is a China-led 8-member economic and security bloc with India and Pakistan being admitted to the grouping in 2017.
India has in the past blamed Pakistan for carrying out terrorist attacks in the country and asked it to stop supporting terror outfits operating from its soil.
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since the Pathankot terror attack in January 2016, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.
Earlier this year, tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mphammed killed 40 Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot in Pakistan on February 26. The next day, the Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was later handed over to India.
China played a role in easing tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad.