Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Friday that the pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine caused many obstacles in global supply chains, due to which the whole world is facing an unprecedented energy and food crises.
Emphasizing that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation must make efforts to develop reliable, resilient and diversified supply chains in the region, he said, "This will require better connectivity, as well as it will be important that we all give each other full right to transit".
In view of the major challenge of ensuring food security of the citizens, Modi also said one possible solution is to promote the cultivation and consumption of millets. He then suggested holding of 'Millet Food Festival' under SCO as the year 2023 will be celebrated as UN International Year of Millets.
"The year 2023 will be celebrated as the UN International Year of Millets. We should consider organizing a 'Millet Food Festival' under the SCO," Modi said at the Summit, where he met President Mirziyoyev in person for the first time.
Millets are a superfood that has been grown for thousands of years, not just in SCO countries, but in many parts of the world, and is a traditional, nutritious, and low-cost alternative to dealing with the food crisis, he pointed out.
Also, pointing out that WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine inaugurated in Gujarat in April 2022. will be WHO's first and only global centre for traditional medicine, Modi said, "We must increase cooperation on traditional medicine among SCO countries. For this, India will take the initiative for a new SCO Working Group on Traditional Medicine."
The prime minister also mentioned India's progress as a manufacturing hub, and said the country's economy is expected to grow by 7.5 per cent this year, which will be the highest among the world's largest economies.
"A lot of focus is also being given on the proper use of technology in our people-centric development model. We are supporting innovation in every sector. Today, there are more than 70,000 Start-ups in India, of which more than 100 are unicorns. Our experience can also be useful for many other SCO members. For this purpose, we are ready to share our experience with SCO member countries by establishing a new Special Working Group on Start-ups and Innovation".
SCO member countries contribute about 30 per cent of global GDP, and 40 per cent of the world's population lives in SCO countries, Modi mentioned.