SCO Summit: The Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis have created impediments for global supply chains and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) should create trusted and resilient supply chains to foster economic recovery, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday. Addressing a session of the SCO Summit in Samarkand, Modi said the members of the grouping should give each other transit rights to help build better connectivity across the region.
Modi was speaking at an extended session that was attended by the leaders of the eight SCO member states and the leaders of observer states such as Turkey and other nations invited by Uzbekistan, the host of the summit. This was the second session following an earlier gathering restricted to the leaders of the SCO member states.
The prime minister said the SCO Summit was being held against the backdrop of a challenging regional and global situation, and the whole world was grappling with the challenge of economic recovery after the pandemic. The SCO’s role is very important in such circumstances as its member states account for almost 30% of the global GDP and 40% of the world’s population.
“India supports increased cooperation and mutual trust between the SCO member states,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi.
“The pandemic and the Ukraine crisis have created several impediments for global supply chains and the whole world is facing an unprecedented food and energy crisis. In our region, the SCO should try to create trusted, resilient and diversified supply chains. For this, we need better connectivity and it is also important that all of us give transit rights to each other,” he said.
India is making progress in its efforts to become a manufacturing hub, and the country’s economy is expected to grow by 7.5% this year, which will be the highest among the world’s biggest economies, Modi said.
The people-centric governance model of India makes appropriate use of technology and the government backs innovation in every sector. There are more than 70,000 start-ups in India, including more than 100 unicorns, and the country’s expertise in this field can be used to help other SCO members, he said.
The SCO can think of creating new special working group on start-ups and innovation whereby India can share its expertise, he said.
Referring to the big challenge of ensuring food security for people around the world, Modi said a possible solution could be efforts to encourage the cultivation and consumption of millets, which he described as a “superfood” that has been grown in the SCO states and many other parts of world for long.
He said the UN will observe the international year of millets in 2023, and the SCO should discuss holding a “millet food festival”.
Pointing to India’s emergence as a centre for medical and wellness tourism, Modi said the World Health Organization (WHO) had established a global centre for traditional medicines in Gujarat this year. This is the first and only such global centre under the WHO and the SCO should increase cooperation on traditional medicines, he said.
India will take the initiative for setting up a working group on traditional medicines, he added.