Jaishankar advocates for Chabahar port at SCO

30 July, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

full 353136 nej2eDos Uncategorized

There have been no meetings scheduled with the Foreign Ministers of China, Pakistan, or the Taliban.

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) ministerial meeting in Tashkent on Friday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar shared a table with Foreign Ministers of China Wang Yi, Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto, Russia Sergey Lavrov, and central Asian countries. While India pushed for the Chabahar port to be used as a trade route to Central Asia, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister promoted the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for trans-regional trade, including in a meeting with Taliban-appointed Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Jaishankar met with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan counterparts, but no meetings with Mr. Bhutto, Mr. Wang, or Mr. Muttaqi, who were also in Tashkent for a special SCO reach out, were announced. Although it was not mentioned in the MEA release, the Russian embassy in Delhi tweeted that Mr. Jaishankar met with Russian Foreign Minister Mr. Lavrov while in Tashkent, where they discussed bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues.

During the meeting, Mr. Jaishankar emphasised India’s assistance to Afghanistan.

Assistance to Afghanistan

Mr. Jaishankar said after the meetings that he had “reiterated India’s position on Afghanistan and highlighted our humanitarian support: wheat, medicines, vaccines, and clothing.” He also said that he had highlighted the potential for Iran’s Chabahar for the “SCO’s economic future.”

The External Affairs Minister also mentioned the energy and food crises caused by the “Ukraine conflict,” without mentioning Russia’s role in the conflict, as well as the COVID pandemic, which he said must be “urgently addressed.”

“Resilient and diverse supply chains, as well as reformed multilateralism,” Mr. Jaishankar said, adding that “zero tolerance” for terrorism was required.

The External Affairs Minister also met with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, where he was seated next to Mr. Bhutto at the round table.

Summit of Samarkand

He stated that India would “give the fullest support for the success of the Samarkand Summit,” implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would attend the summit on September 15-16. If all SCO leaders attend the summit in person, Mr. Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the first time. Next year, India will also host all SCO leaders.

Mr. Jaishankar told SCO Secretary General, senior Chinese diplomat Zhang Ming, that India’s presidency next year would give SCO cooperation a “renewed thrust.”