Using SCO to isolate Pakistan could be misconstrued: Ambassador Sajjanhar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be meeting his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan at the two-day 19th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
The summit is being held in the Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek from June 13.
Counter-terrorism is high on the agenda of the summit, apart from peace and stability in the region.
Former ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, commenting on the fraught relations between and India-Pakistan and its impact on the summit, cautioned against India using the forum to attack Pakistan.
Sajjanhar believes that it can be construed by other members as an unwarranted attempt by India to rake up bilateral issues in the multilateral forum.
“It will be in the interest of India in the long run to avoid using forums like SCO for raising bilateral issues. The idea that India may try to use SCO to isolate Pakistan is more a media creation. India knows that it is in the interest of the future strategy to take every country along and build a consensus around the fight against cross-border terrorism. We have been a sufferer and the world is amply convinced about it by now,” Sajjanhar told Asiaville.
His views come on a day when China reiterated that SCO will not be used to target any country.
“The SCO summit in Bishkek this week would discuss economy-related issues and security cooperation with a focus on counter terrorism, but it is not aimed at "targeting" any country,” Chinese deputy foreign minister Zhang Hanhui said on Monday.
After re-election, the SCO summit will be the first major international event to be attended by Modi. He is scheduled to meet Xi and Putin on the sidelines of the summit, while the possibility of meeting Imran Khan was denied by the official spokesperson in a press briefing.
Raveesh Kumar, MEA: There is no meeting which is being organised between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan at SCO Summit. There is nothing more that we can add at this stage. pic.twitter.com/xEwugFauhJ— ANI (@ANI) June 10, 2019
Counter terrorism cooperation has been a major focus area of SCO. The organisation has built up a Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) which focusses on periodic counter-terrorism exercises involving the member countries.
The SCO consists of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, apart from China, India and Pakistan.
The summit is being attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the meeting of the SCO which is a China-led eight-member economic and security bloc, apart from the heads of state of the other member-countries.
India and Pakistan were admitted to the Beijing based regional security grouping in 2017.