Land-locked Central Asian countries can benefit by connecting with India’s market, says Modi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 17, 2021

Calls on getting young entrepreneurs, start-ups in SCO countries connected to compete with developed world

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) should get their young entrepreneurs and start-ups connected to promote innovative spirit and compete with the developed world by becoming a stakeholder in emerging technologies.

“Whether it is technologies like UPI and Rupay Card to increase financial inclusion or digital platforms like our Aarogya-Setu and COWIN in the fight against Covid, we have voluntarily shared these with other countries as well. We will be happy to share these open source technologies also with our SCO partners and to organise capacity building activities for this,” Modi said in his virtual address at the SCO Summit on Friday.

The SCO grouping includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. It is also now ready to extend full membership to Iran. “I welcome Iran as a new member State of the SCO. I also welcome the three new Dialogue Partners — Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar. The expansion of SCO shows the growing influence of our organisation. SCO will become stronger and more credible with new members and dialogue partners,” the PM said.

Modi also expressed hope that SCO partners will actively participate in the calendar of activities that has been built for India’s Presidency of SCO-RATS (Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure).

Economic potential

Pointing out that the economic potential of the region had remained untapped due to radicalisation and insecurity, be it mineral wealth or intra-SCO trade, Modi said that the focus has to be on enhancing mutual connectivity. “The role of Central Asia in history has been that of a connectivity bridge between major regional markets. This was also the basis of the prosperity of this region. India is committed to increasing its connectivity with Central Asia,” he said.

Land-locked Central Asian countries can benefit immensely by connecting with India’s vast market, the PM added. However, many connectivity options are not open to them today due to lack of mutual trust.

“Our investment in Iran’s Chabahar port and our efforts towards the International North-South Corridor are driven by this reality,” he said.

Published on September 17, 2021

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