Your Excellency Mr. Ismail Karimov,
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan,
Leaders of the Members States of Shanghai
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Almost a year ago, I started my journey of Central Asian countries from Tashkent.
I still remember the warmth and generous welcome of Excellency Karimov and Uzbek people.
Let me join others in thanking you Excellency Karimov for you hospitality and excellent arrangements for this meeting.
At the Ufa Summit last year, conducted so ably by President Putin, the SCO leaders had accepted India as its full member.
It was a landmark in India's engagement with SCO.
Later today, we will sign the Memorandum of Obligations.
With this we would formalize the process of India's membership of the SCO.
And, as a logical extension India's age old ties with the region, one-sixth of humanity will join the family of SCO.
We are indeed grateful to the SCO Member States and its leaders for their overwhelming support for India’s membership of the SCO.
I also welcome Pakistan as the new member of the SCO and Belarus as a first time Observer to this body.
India is not new to the region. Our historic linkages with you are centuries old. And, its just not geography that connects us. Our societies have been enriched by links of culture, cusine and commerce.
They form the bed rock of our modern day relationships with Russia, China and the countries of Central Asia.
With India as its full member, SCO boundaries would stretch from the Pacific to Europe; and from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean.
We would represent forty percent of humanity and over a billion youth.
To this group, India brings principles that are in tune with the philosophies of the SCO.
India has always enjoyed good relations with the Eurasian land mass.
We also share global goals of stability, security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.
India would no doubt benefit from SCO's strengths in energy, natural resources and industry.
In turn, India's strong economy and its vast market could drive economic growth in the SCO region.
India's capacities in trade, investments, information and communication technology, Space, S&T, agriculture, health care, small and medium scale industry can bring wide spread economic benefit to the SCO countries.
We can partner to develop human resources and institutional capacities in the region.
Since our priorities match, our development experiences would be relevant to your national needs.
The interdependent world of twenty-first century is full of economic opportunities.
It also faces geo-political complexities and security challenges.
And, connectivity among the countries of the region is crucial to our economic prosperity.
And, not just physical connectivity.
What we need is seamless flow of goods, services, capital and people among ourselves.
But, that alone is not enough.
Our region also needs to nurture strong rail, road and air links with the rest of the world.
Within SCO, India will be a productive partner in building strong trade, transport, energy, digital and people to people links.
Our decision to join the international North South Transport Corridor, the Chabahar Agreement, and Ashgabat Agreement reflects this desire and intent.
India's membership of SCO would contribute to region's prosperity. It would also strengthen its security. Our partnership will protect our societies from the threats of radical ideologies of hate, violence and terror.
India will unite with SCO countries to work towards this goal. And, we will adopt zero tolerance and a comprehensive approach in fighting terrorism at all levels.
With the same goal in sight, a stable, independent and peaceful Afghanistan is not just a sincere desire of each Afghan. It is also necessary for greater security and stability in the SCO region.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman,
I am confident that India's engagement with all SCO members will help us build a region:
Which is an engine of economic growth for the world;Is more stable and secure internally; and Strongly connected with other geographies.
Next year, we look forward to attending SCO meeting in Astana, as equal partners.
I wish all success to Kazhakstan in their Chairmanship of SCO in 2017.
I once again thank the Government and the people of Uzbekistan for their hospitality and congratulate Excellency Karimov for conducting today’s successful meeting.