Extremism big challenge to SCO region, says Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi

india, sco, terrorism, narendra modi, iran, taliban, afghanistan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states should develop a common template to fight increasing radicalisation as it is the biggest challenge to the region, citing the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

“I believe that the biggest challenges in this area are related to peace, security and trust-deficit and the root cause of these problems is increasing radicalisation,” Modi told the SCO Summit virtually. “Recent developments in Afghanistan have made this challenge more apparent.”

He highlighted India‘s concerns over regional stability and asked SCO member states to ensure the Eurasian grouping works closely on this issue. “Fighting radicalisation is not only necessary for regional security and mutual trust, but it is also necessary for the bright future of our younger generations.”

SCO can fall back on the values historically promoted in the region to counter radicalisation and extremism, Modi said.

“If we look at the history, we will find that the region of Central Asia has been a bastion of moderate and progressive cultures and values,” he said, citing Sufism that has left its mark on the cultural heritage of this region. “On the basis of this historical heritage of Central Asia, SCO should develop a common template to fight radicalisation and extremism,” Modi said.

“In India, and almost in all SCO countries, there are moderate, tolerant and inclusive institutions and traditions associated with Islam. SCO should work to develop a strong network between them.”

It may be pointed out that current SCO chair Tajikistan had issued a statement describing Taliban’s edicts as un-Islamic. Russia has also warned against the spread of radicalisation in the region.

Modi also stressed the need to work together on issues like connectivity and trust, in a veiled reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – an international infrastructure project to connect nearly 70 countries – which is viewed as a non-consultative project that arguably violates India’s sovereignty by passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Welcoming Iran to SCO as its ninth member, Modi highlighted the country’s role in regional connectivity.

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