SCO members should respect sovereignty, territorial integrity of countries: Gadkari

New Delhi:  Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said connectivity with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries is a priority for India, and emphasised on ensuring demand driven, sustainable development, while respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries.

The road transport and highways minister further said India attaches special attention to SCO in promoting economy and people-to-people interaction in the region.

“Connectivity is itself an economic multiplier… connectivity with SCO countries is a priority for India,” Gadkari said while chairing the 10th meeting for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Transport Ministers.

“We must ensure demand driven and sustainable development and cooperation but also respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries,” Gadkari asserted.

While noting that India is committed towards promotion of solutions to make the transport sector more efficient and reliable, he said India would like to appreciate the initiative of SCO members which aimed to strengthen security in the region and enhance cooperation in political trade, science and technology.

“We wish to assure you all that India stands ready to cooperate, to improve the connectivity in the region.

“… India accords high priority to strengthening ties with SCO partners on a bilateral basis, on the premise of equality, respect and mutual understanding,” he said.

Gadkari in a tweet said “all the member states supported the concept of co-operation of the SCO member states to decarbonise transport, promote digital transformation and innovative technologies to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability.”

He further said a special working group has been established to promote collaboration among member states of the SCO in the field of transportation.

This group will facilitate meetings to share knowledge and best practices related to reducing carbon emissions in transportation, promoting digital transformation, and implementing innovative technologies for more sustainable and efficient transport, the minister added.

The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.