New Delhi: India attaches special importance to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in promoting dialogue on multi-dimensional political, security and economic subjects, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.
He said this while chairing a meeting of Heads of Departments of SCO member states responsible for Prevention and Elimination of Emergency Situations in New Delhi.
He said India’s priority as the chair of the SCO is to take forward the SECURE theme articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Qingdao Summit of the grouping in 2018.
SECURE stands S – Security, E – Economic Cooperation, C – Connectivity, U – Unity, R – Respect For Sovereignty and Integrity and E – Environment Protection.
Under the leadership of Modi, India attaches special importance to the SCO in promoting dialogue on the subject relating to multi-dimensional political, security and economic subjects, an official statement said.
Shah said India attaches special importance to disaster risk reduction and is ready to share its expertise and experience in this field for greater cooperation and mutual trust among SCO member states.
He said India believes that no hazard is small or big and it does not leave anyone behind.
Shah said India now has more accurate and timely early warning system in place and the country has seen a sea change in the way its early warning systems (EWS) of drought, flood, lightning, heat wave, cold wave, cyclone, have improved.
He said the forecast not only warns India about the disaster but also predicts the potential impact it is likely to cause.
According to Shah, at the time of a natural disaster, it is of great importance how quickly the relief reaches the affected area and this speed reflects the preparedness of the team and the efficiency of their training.
He said India has been associated with the SCO since 2005 and playing an important role as an observer country, since then.
At the 17th Summit in 2017, India became a full member of the SCO as part of an important step in the process of expansion of this organization.
Shah said it is a matter of pride that India is donning the mantle of the chair of the SCO Council of Heads of State for the very first time since becoming a full-fledged member state in 2017.
He said the SCO will probably be the largest regional organisation in the world at this time, representing 40 per cent of the global population, 25 per cent of the global GDP and 22 per cent of the world’s total land area.
Today, the SCO has developed into an international organization and it has provided an excellent platform for harmonising cooperation with all member countries, he said.
Shah said each and every life, family and their livelihood are priceless and all possible efforts should be made to protect it.
He said India’s approach to early warning system is people-centric and we want to ensure that our forecasting and warning system is not just scientifically advanced but it is also communicated in a manner that is understandable, usable and actionable by common people.
The home minister said there was a time when cyclonic storms in India used to cause huge loss of life and property, but, India has made ‘community empowerment’ the basis of its efforts, due to which the damage caused by cyclones has been reduced, which is being appreciated by the whole world today.
He said India has taken several important initiatives of international cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction.
He said the India-led Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) today has 39 members from across the world.
The CDRI is working with member countries to ensure that all investments in infrastructure is made in a manner that it makes our infrastructure resilient to disasters, thereby securing not just our present but also our future. Along with this, CDRI is placing particular emphasis on some of the most vulnerable regions of the world, such as Small Islands Developing States (SIDS).
Also, on India’s initiative, a Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction has been constituted at the G20, and the first meeting of this group was held recently in Gandhinagar in Gujarat, he said.
The home minister said the ‘Tsunami Early Warning System’ for the Indian Ocean Rim Countries established by the Indian National Centre for Oceanic Information Services (INCOIS) serves not just India but nearly two dozen other countries.
Along with this, he said, India has hosted joint bilateral exercises with SAARC, BIMSTEC, and SCO countries.
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