Pakistan likely to host India among others in SCO meet

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Islamabad, May 22 (IANS) Amid signs of an improvement in relations between Pakistan and India, authorities in Islamabad are expecting to host an Indian delegation, among others, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) Legal Experts meeting, being held from May 23 to 25.

“This is the first ever SCO meeting being held in Pakistan since the country has become a member of the SCO in June 2017,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.

“Legal experts from the eight member states; India, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, as well as representatives of the SCO-RATS Executive Committee will participate in the meeting,” it added.

During the moot, the legal experts will discuss terrorist threats being faced by the region and ways and means to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation between SCO member states.

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“Pakistan supports SCO’s efforts for regional cooperation in fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. We are ready to share our experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS,” the statement read.

“The government of Pakistan is pleased to welcome delegations from SCO member states to Islamabad.”

Apart from the SCO meeting, the two countries in an unexpected move are going to participate in joint military drills in September for the first time. According to media reports, Indian and Pakistani troops will participate in a joint exercise in Russia under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Troops from the two countries have sometimes come together in peacekeeping assignments with the UN but they haven’t been in a military exercise like the one they would be participating in with Russia and China among other SCO members.

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Last month, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had called for “comprehensive and meaningful dialogue” between the two countries to look for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute. Subsequently, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that India will take any “comment on wanting peace” by Pakistani officials “seriously”.

–IANS

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