‘Respect territorial integrity’: Doval’s swipe at China, Pakistan

In a swipe at both China and Pakistan, India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval at the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) NSAS here on Wednesday said that the members of the group must respect each other’s territorial integrity. Doval told the meeting of the SCO that members of the group must respect territorial integrity and not seek unilateral military superiority in adjacent regions. Doval also emphasized the need for regional connectivity but said that such initiatives should be consultative and transparent and respect the sovereignty of all countries. NSA Doval’s remarks assume significance in the light of India’s consistent opposition to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as it passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Doval’s remarks are being viewed as a blunt message to both China and Pakistan in this context. Without naming China, Doval said: “The Charter calls upon member states to have mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity of states and inviolability of State borders, non-use of force or threat of its use in international relations and seeking no unilateral military superiority in adjacent areas.” The Charter further calls on member states to maintain relations with other countries and to cooperate in preventing international conflicts and in their peaceful settlement, Doval said against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. Doval’s remarks acquire significance also in the backdrop of the dragging India-China military standoff in Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). India has accused China of violating border management agreements by unilaterally massing troops on the LAC and attempting to change the status quo by force. In a message to Pakistan, Doval also spoke at length about the challenge the terrorism poses to the region. “Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and its financing is amongst the most serious threats to international peace and security. Any act of terrorism, regardless of its motivation, is unjustifiable,” he said. Sources told The

Daily Guardian that security officials and NSAs of the SCO member states discussed the cross-border terrorism and measures to counter it. NSA Doval is learnt to have shared with his counterparts from SCO member countries the details about how India has been battling cross-border terrorism. He did not, however, name Pakistan. But Pakistan was the elephant in the room when Doval raised the issue of terrorism, asking the members to hit the menace hard, sources said. The meeting was joined by the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, senior officials of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and a representative of the Regional Anti- Terrorist Structure (RATS) of SCO. Officials of China and Pakistan participated in the meeting virtually. Connectivity is a key priority for India, which is ready to cooperate in making investments to forge greater linkages within the region, Doval said, adding “While expanding connectivity, it is important to ensure that such initiatives are consultative, transparent and participatory, and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. “India’s approach in this area is in sync with the SCO Charter to ensure comprehensive and balanced economic growth “for integration into the global economy

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