Crack down hard on terror sponsors, financers: Doval at SCO meeting


  Astana (Kazakhstan), Apr 3:  Perpetrators of terrorism should be effectively and expeditiously dealt with including those involved in cross-border terrorist activities, NSA Ajit Doval said on Wednesday, condemning the barbaric terror attack at Crocus City Hall in Moscow and calling for shunning double standards in combating the menace.

    In an address at a security conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Astana, he also said that connectivity projects must be fully respectful of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states of the grouping, in remarks that came amid concerns over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

    Highlighting the challenge of terrorism, Doval underlined the need for holding accountable the sponsors, financiers, and facilitators of terrorist activities, in remarks that came amid Pakistan’s continuing support to various terror groups.

    Doval also raised the issue of the continued threat posed by various terror groups in the SCO region, including those designated by the UN Security Council such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and ISIS, sources said.

    Doval said India is committed to enhancing transit trade and connectivity asserting that such initiatives must be fully respectful of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of SCO member states.

    The comments came in the face of China’s Belt and Road Initiative facing increasing criticism over lack of transparency and disregard for the sovereignty of nations.

    The National Security Advisor strongly condemned the barbaric terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall in Moscow on March 22 and expressed condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones.

    Doval conveyed to Russian NSA Patrushev, India’s solidarity with the government and the people of Russia to address the threat from terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

    He pointed out that any act of terror including cross-border terrorism committed by whomsoever, wherever, and for whatever motives is not justified, according to the sources.

    Perpetrators of terrorism should be effectively and expeditiously dealt with including those involved in cross-border terrorism, he said.

    He emphasised the need to counter the use of technology by terrorists including drones for cross-border smuggling of weapons and drugs.

    India supports the creation of effective mechanisms for cooperation within RATS-SCO for countering terror financing and supports its further strengthening, he said.

In his remarks, Doval expressed deep concern on the security situation in Afghanistan including the continued presence of terrorist networks.

    He noted that as a contiguous neighbor of Afghanistan, India has legitimate security and economic interests in Afghanistan.

    Doval also conveyed that the SCO’s immediate priorities in Afghanistan include providing humanitarian assistance, ensuring the formation of a truly inclusive and representative government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking, and preserving the rights of women, children, and minorities.

    India has invested USD three billion in Afghanistan and supplied 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat, 250 tonnes of medical aid, and supplied 40,000 liters of Malathion pesticide to fight the locust menace.

    In the meeting of Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with the secretaries of the security councils of the SCO member states, Doval conveyed India’s support for Kazakh initiatives in the grouping and for a successful presidency.

    India is committed to further deepening its relationship with SCO and member states proactively and constructively, Doval said.

    Security is India’s priority in the SCO as elaborated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in line with his vision for a SECURE SCO, he noted.

    The acronym SECURE stands for Security, Economic Cooperation, Connectivity, Unity, Respect for Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity, and Environment Protection.

The NSA emphasized that India’s relationship with SCO countries goes back several centuries and it is committed to further deepening it.

    The SCO comprises Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Iran.

    India has shown a keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

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