India hosts Pakistan delegation for SCO meet

Wednesday 08th December 2021 07:54 EST

While bilateral ties with Pakistan remain in a deep freeze, India and Pakistan continue to engage under the banner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Eurasian political and security grouping that is seen as playing an increasingly important role in Afghanistan after the US departure.

In a rare visit by senior Pakistan government officials, a delegation arrived from Islamabad to participate in a cyber security conference of SCO countries that India will host. This follows a visit to Pakistan by an India delegation in October for an anti-terror SCO exercise that sought to promote cooperation between the member states.

The cyber security conference is being organised by India's National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) that had recently also hosted a regional meeting of NSAs on the Afghanistan situation. The 4 central Asian countries which are also full members of SCO had participated in India's Afghanistan conference that reflected, according to the government, regional consensus on major issues of regional stability and security. Except for China and Pakistan, all full SCO Members, including Russia, had attended the conference. Official sources said the invite to Pakistan for the conference was in keeping with the SCO Charter. In their efforts to tackle security threats and challenges, the SCO countries are currently considering establishing an SCO Information Security Centre in Kazakhstan. While India continues to maintain that Pakistan has done little to check cross-border terrorism, and has accused Islamabad of raising bilateral issues at SCO, it has simultaneously pledged, along with other Members, to conduct joint anti-terror exercises. India believes that Russia, unlike China, has been sensitive to India's concerns related to cross-border terrorism. While Russia maintains that it is for India and Pakistan to resolve their differences, it also believes that the SCO forum should be used for what remains one of the organisation's main goals - strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.

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