Just as at Qingdao, PM Modi had given an acronym called SECURE , this year , he has come up with another innovative acronym called HEALTH (which brings together the Indian experience in development, and India’s experience in engagement with the other countries.HEALTH stands for (healthcare cooperation, economic cooperation, alternate energy, literature and culture, terrorism-free society and humanitarian cooperation).
Elaborating on these pointers, Modi called upon member states to ensure that nations which support, promote or finance terror must be held accountable – referring to Pakistan without explicitly naming it. Modi also stressed using the potential of RATS to counter terrorism.
With regard to economic cooperation, Modi criticized protectionist tendencies in trade amidst the US ending GSP status for Indian products with New Delhi getting ready to respond and the ongoing US-China trade war.
The Bishkek Declaration-On terror, the declaration largely followed language from the Qingdao Summit declaration, reiterating SCO’s condemnation of terrorism ‘in all its forms and manifestations.’ There was support for WTO and the multilateral trading system; and like other yearly declarations the members noted the need for increased cooperation between SCO member states in trade and services. A document regarding cooperation among members on Digitalization and Information and Communications Technology was signed at the end of heads of state meeting.
While Modi noted the examples of International North South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port, Ashgabat Agreement and the air freight corridor between Kabul, Kandahar and New Delhi as proof of India’s focus on connectivity, India refused to join the clause in the declaration in support of the Belt and Road Initiative. However, like the Qingdao Declaration of 2018, all the other SCO members ‘reaffirmed their support’ for the Chinese initiative.
The ‘Roadmap for Further Action of the SCO Afghanistan Contact Group’ was signed by the leaders and the declaration argued for an ‘inclusive peace process conducted and led by Afghans themselves’ with UN playing the main role even as multilateral forums continue to interact on the issue. The Indian position of an ‘Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled inclusive peace process’ was similarly highlighted by the prime minister.
The talks with Putin looked at furthering the bilateral partnership through focusing on trade, defense and energy. The two leaders will again meet in a trilateral format of Russia-India-China on the sidelines of G20 summit in Japan later this month, the idea for which was advanced by Modi during the bilateral meeting with the Russian leader.The SCO as a grouping did not directly address the recent upheavals in West Asia, highlighting the cautious attitude the member states are taking in addressing the delicate situation.
Addressing the first India-Kyrgyzstan Business Forum, the PM emphasized on better connectivity as being crucial for better trade ties. He noted that negotiations were on-going with regard to a bilateral investment treaty. The two countries signed the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement as talks continue on the preferential trade agreement with the EAEU. The SCO Summit 2020 will be hosted by Russia.