When leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) hold a Summit meeting on June 14, the issue of terrorism is expected to dominate the discussions, not least because it is an important part of this regional grouping’s remit. With both India and Pakistan as its newest members, it’s expected that New Delhi will be hoping to put Islamabad on the mat on the matter of terror emanating from its soil.
The ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to India, Asein Isaev, in an exclusive interview with SNI, said that terrorism is an issue of common concern for all. He added that counter-terrorism measures form an important part of the SCO’s agenda, discussions on this will not be restricted to merely the India-Pakistan framework.
Kyrgyzstan is the current chair of the eight-member grouping slated to meet on June 13 and 14 in Capital, Bishkek. It’s only for the second time that India and Pakistan will be sharing the high table at SCO, both having been admitted to this grouping together in 2017.
China, on whose insistence Pakistan was admitted into the SCO along with India was once again backing its ally on Monday, stressing that the grouping’s aim was not to target any country.
“Security and development are two major issues of focus for the SCO. The establishment of the SCO is not to target any certain country but the summit of this level will certainly pay attention to major international relations and regional issues,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister ZhangHanhui said while responding to a question on whether multilateralism would be the focus of discussions at the upcoming Summit. But most interpreted his remarks as jumping to the defence of Pakistan on the terror front.
The SCO, like the now defunct Saarc, is a grouping that works on the basis of consensus. With India’s admittance to the grouping, it has gained in influence and potential, Ambassador Isaev told SNI.
According to A. Gitesh Sarma, Secretary (West) in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the SCO represents 42 per cent of the world’s population, 22 per cent of its land area and 20 per cent of its GDP. Sarma who was speaking to the reporters on Monday said about the SCO: “For India, it’s a structured platform to engage with Central Asian countries, some of the important issues that are taken up within the ambit of SCO are counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, extremism, etc.”