External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on May 13, 2020, participated in a video-conference of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO); in light of situations arising due to coronavirus pandemic. According to a statement from the External Affairs Ministry; the discussions centred around the COVID-19 crisis and coordination of the efforts to deal with its trade, economic and social consequences.
The SCO foreign ministers discussed the importance of promoting international cooperation; in order to overcome the aftershock of COVID-19, and prevent its impact on regional and global security and stability. They also focused on the situation in Afghanistan; reaffirmed their readiness to reach a political settlement as soon as possible. Moreover, the ministers had a detailed discussion on the preparations for the SCO Council of Heads of State Meeting (SCO Summit) in Saint Petersburg; and the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of World War II,” the statement said.
Jaishankar in his address emphasised that security challenges faced by SCO states stand “not linked by physical or political boundaries”. He added, “Terrorism continues to be the overwhelming threat to security and stability in the SCO region and would require collective action.” Jaishankar in reference to Pakistan added that even as the world fights Covid-19, some are busy spreading other deadly viruses such as terrorism. Fake news and doctored videos are also used to divide communities and countries. Jaishankar acknowledged the disruption in production networks and supply chains due to COVID-19. Accordingly, he urged the CO states to identify new ways to sustain economic growth.