A head of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit this week, without naming Pakistan, China sent out a message to the member nations that SCO is not a forum to target any one country.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui addressed a press conference ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping attending the 19th SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek, and the fifth version of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan.
“In every summit, the institutional building of the SCO will be discussed that would involve economic cooperation and security cooperation particularly on counter-terrorism,” China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said.
“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 relation and regional issues,” he added.
India is likely to raise the issue of terrorism and state sponsorship of terrorism very strongly at the forum since it is one that focuses largely on counter-terrorism and security cooperation.
Responding to the Chinese remarks, Gitesh Sarma, Secretary (West) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, “SCO Council of Heads of State comprises countries who are all affected by terrorism, so terror will be on the agenda for discussion. As for raising the issue of one country, I can’t say whether any specific nation would be mentioned.”
During his first foreign visit to the Maldives after being re-elected as India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Saturday indirectly attacked Pakistan, saying state sponsorship of terrorism is the biggest threat the world is facing today.
While India has taken a very tough stand on Pakistan saying “talks and terror cannot go together”, the one forum that has seen no forward movement is SAARC which was boycotted in 2016 after a spate of terror attacks from Pakistan.
But, the two nations have cooperated on all fronts when it comes to the SCO. MEA has confirmed that Indian and Pakistani troops will be taking part again in joint exercises as part of SCO this year as well.