India on Monday said terrorism is the biggest challenge that the region is facing right now and said the elimination of this threat will help it realise its true potential including in the economic sphere.
During an address at the virtual meet of the council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu highlighted the issue of cross-border terrorism and called for combating the menace through a collective approach.
In a clear reference to Pakistan, Naidu said, "We are particularly concerned over states that leverage terrorism as an instrument of state policy. The most important challenge faced by us is terrorism, particularly cross-border terrorism.” Naidu further said that "elimination" of the terror threat will help the region realise its true potential.
India is hosting the meet for the first time since it gained full membership at the influential grouping in 2017.
In another apparent reference to Pakistan, he said it is unfortunate that there were attempts to deliberately bring bilateral issues at the SCO summit and described it as a blatant violation of principles and norms of the organisation’s charter.
In mid-September, India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval walked out of a virtual meeting of top security officials of the SCO member states after the Pakistani representative projected a map that inaccurately depicted Kashmir. India had slammed Pakistan for the "blatant disregard" to the norms of the meeting.