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Transcript of Media Briefing by Secretary (West) at SCO Summit 2019 in Bishkek (June 14, 2019)

June 15, 2019

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Friends, good afternoon and welcome to this special briefing from Bishkek. As you are aware, since the arrival of the Prime Minister for the SCO Summit, the focus yesterday was on the bilateral meetings. Today the focus has been on Prime Minister’s participation in different formats of SCO meetings. I have with me Secretary (West), Shri Gitesh Sarma and Jt. Secretary (SCO). They both will take us through Prime Minister’s participation at the SCO meetings and any other detail which they would like to share with the media. Sir the floor is yours.

Secretary (West), Shri Gitesh Sarma: Thank you very much and in view of the limited time let’s come straight to the briefing itself.

Today Prime Minister participated in the SCO Summit and in the summit itself the deliberations were divided into two portions. The first portion was the restricted format which is meant for the members and then after that was the expanded format where the observers also joined in. As you are aware that four observer countries are also participating in this summit.

Prime Minister, very graciously thanked the Kyrgyz President for hosting the summit and for the excellent arrangements. He also thanked President Putin; congratulated him for the next summit which will be hosted by Russia, so he expressed his best wishes for the next summit also.

Friends, you will be surprised the kind of themes that were discussed over the two sessions. The essential discussions revolved around terrorism, Afghanistan, the economic issues especially the opportunities that there are for economic cooperation. As far as terrorism is concerned there need felt for close cooperation among the member countries including using the platform of RATS – Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure based in Tashkent.

On the Afghanistan issue, Prime Minister reiterated well known Indian position that any process in Afghanistan should be Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled and as a friend of Afghanistan India reiterated its commitment to working for the peace and stability of that country.

Economic issues were covered also in the discussions and some issues which really came up apart from the need for better connectivity including what Prime Minister mentioned about North South Corridor, Chabahar Port which has become operational and is available.

He also touched upon things like renewable energy, environment protection and solar energy. He said India has its strengths and is ready to work with the countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organization to improve their energy basket and work for common good in terms of climate change.

Friends, it may be very interesting that Prime Minister used the acronym HEALTH, he introduced the acronym HEALTH. I will read it out very slowly what this acronym stands for.

H for Health Care Cooperation
E for Economic Cooperation
A for Alternate Energy
L for Literature and Culture
T for Terrorism free Society
H for Humanitarian Cooperation.

So that essentially was the Prime Minister’s message. I think it was a very good message, it summed up really India’s approach which is very constructive, and creates a very positive agenda and positive feel about the entire SCO process.

The cultural element also gets very strongly reiterated and we need to work closely especially considering that there are so many commonalities between India and most of the countries of Central Asia. Indian films for instance that we had mentioned about organizing film festivals, already they have been done in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan also, so that is something which is ongoing. Overall the message was that India would like to see very positive content in the SCO process, we are ready to contribute to that, we are ready to work with the countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Friends, there were also series of documents and agreements which were signed today. I will request my colleague, Jt. Secretary (SCO) Ms. Madhumita to cover that.

Jt. Secretary (SCO), Ms. Madhumita: Good afternoon. We have successfully concluded the second summit that we have participated as a full-fledged member of the SCO. As is the convention in the SCO, a joint declaration comes out at the end of every summit and we have spoken about terrorism, about issues relating to deeper cooperation between the parliamentarians of all the SCO countries as also enhance cooperation between regions of the SCO countries, in our case the states.

Some of the important outcome documents that came out of the summit were the document of the Anti-Narcotic Strategy and the program of action. Then like I just told you about the inter-regional cooperation and the Heads of Regions forum and as also three documents which were assigned were on healthcare, on environment and on sports cooperation.

Other than that there are the general administrative agreements. In total 14 decisions have been signed by the Council of the Heads of States and we have, on the sidelines, signed some cooperation agreements between the SCO and UN specialized agencies. Thank you.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Thank you sir, thank you Madhu. We have time for maybe one or two questions.

Question: Was there something specific on terrorism in the Bishkek declaration specifically coming from the Indian side, Prime Minister Modi side and second, any roadmap for the next SCO summit in terms of the areas that would be focused or that would be worked upon by the country members that is going to happen in Russia?

Jt. Secretary (SCO), Ms. Madhumita: Well on terrorism in the joint declaration, the principle in the SCO negotiations is of coming to a consensus on a statement and that is a consensus of all the countries who are coming out with the joint declarations. So it is a strong statement against terrorism and the joint declaration will be available on the website of the SCO soon and you will be able to see that it is very strong language and which has been also kind of endorsed by all the member countries of the SCO, it is a consensus statement which has come out.

And as far as roadmap for the next summit is concerned, the baton has passed on to Russia and Russia has already informed that they will have around 90 events, 90 documents to highlight and as President Putin also highlighted in his speech that they will focus again on certain areas like cyber-terrorism, which is very important for them, cooperation in IT and digitization as well as of marking 75 years of the second world war celebrations. That is what Russia is also looking for and maybe other areas while it comes by.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Thank you all for joining.

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