'Radicalisation Biggest Challenge to Peace': Modi on Afghanistan at SCO Meet

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In a virtual address to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit on Friday, 17 September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that an increase in extremism and radicalisation is the biggest challenge to peace, security and trust deficit in Afghanistan and the region.

In his six minute speech, PM Modi said that SCO members, which include China and Pakistan among other neighbouring countries, should ensure that the group work closely to ensure there is no rise in extremism in the region.

"Today, we can see what is happening in Afghanistan. As SCO members it is a must for us all to ensure that there is no radicalisation and extremism on the rise there," he said.

PM Modi also called for developing a strong network of moderate, tolerant and inclusive institutions associated with Islam.

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"If we take a look at history, we will find that Central Asia has been a bastion of moderate and progressive cultures and values. Sufism flourished here over the centuries and spread throughout the region and the world. We can still see them in the cultural heritage of this region," said PM Modi.

"Based on this historical heritage of Central Asia, SCO should make a common template of fighting radicalisation and extremism. In India, and in almost all the countries of the SCO, there are moderate, tolerant and inclusive institutions and traditions associated with Islam," he added.

Speaking on connectivity projects with Iran, the newest full member to the regional block, PM Modi said that all member states must ensure that connectivity project must not be affected by the situation in Afghanistan and must respect the nation’s sovereignty- a reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during his speech, a cooperation which India does not recognise.

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The SCO, which began in 1996, was started as a confidence building measure between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with the fall of the Soviet Union. India, along with Pakistan and Uzbekistan is a full member. The group welcomed Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar as its newest dialogue partners in the recent summit.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times, NDTV and The Times of India)

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