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External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday spoke about the disruption caused due to the Coronavirus and pointed out that there is an urgent need to address the global energy and food crisis triggered by the pandemic. While addressing the foreign ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Jaishankar also spoke about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion of the country.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto were also present in the meeting. With his couterparts listening, Jaishankar said “zero tolerance” for terrorism in all its manifestations is a ‘must’.

“Participated in the SCO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at Tashkent. Highlighted that world faces an energy and food crisis due to disruptions from the Covid pandemic and Ukraine conflict. This needs to be urgently addressed,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

“Response required includes resilient and diversified supply chains as well as reformed multilateralism. Zero tolerance for terrorism in all its manifestations is a must,” he said.

Further in the meeting, Jaishankar also underlined the potential of the Chabahar port in Iran for the economic future of the grouping. The minister also spoke about the current global challenges and said that the response required includes resilient and diversified supply chains as well as reformed multilateralism.

While speaking about the Afghanistan crisis after Taliban’s takeover of the nation, Jaishankar reiterated New Delhi’s position on Kabul and highlighted its humanitarian support to the war-torn country including the supply of wheat, medicines, vaccines and clothing.

During the meeting, the ministers also took a call to grant permanent membership of the bloc to Iran and make Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia its dialogue partners.

The group also deliberated on preparations for the upcoming summit of the grouping in Samarkand which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of the eight-nation grouping.

After the meeting, Jaishankar said the meeting was “very useful” in preparing for the Samarkand summit.

“Spoke of the economic progress in India, stressing the relevance of startups and innovation. Cooperation in traditional medicine is in the common interest of SCO members,” he added.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, is a key economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017. SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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