India to participate in SCO anti-terror exercise in Pakistan
The anti-terror exercise will be conducted under the aegis of SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), which seeks to promote counter-terrorism cooperation between all the SCO member-states.
India will send a three-member team next week to participate in a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) anti-terror exercise in Pakistan. The anti-terror exercise is reportedly scheduled to be held in Pabbi in Pakistan’s Nowshera district from October 3rd.
The exercise will be conducted under SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), which aims to promote cooperation in counter-terrorism between all the SCO member-states.
India's presence in the exercise will highlight the importance the nation attaches to the role of SCO in security-related issues.
•India was reportedly the last nation to confirm its participation in the exercise, which was announced in March 2021 following the Council of RATS meeting in Tashkent.
•Pakistan had invited all member-states, including India, for the exercise line with the SCO protocol.
•The Pabbi anti-terror exercise will not involve troops and is only meant to identify and suppress channels that finance terrorist activities.
•As per the Indian government, India's participation in the exercise will not in any way affect its position on Pakistan continuing to promote cross-border terrorism.
•India is likely to be represented in the exercise by National Security Council Secretariat officials.
The SCO anti-terror exercise will happen at a time when India-Pakistan ties are on a downward spiral, especially after the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan. The Indian army recently accused the Pakistan commanders of facilitating infiltration in J&K in the past month.
SCO on Afghanistan
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is likely to play an important role in arriving at a political and diplomatic solution to the situation in Afghanistan. The SCO permanent membership expanded to nine this month with Iran too joining the group. The SCO members now include- India, Pakistan, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had outlined, while addressing the SCO summit meeting on Afghanistan in Dushanbe, that the government formed by the Taliban wasn’t inclusive and asked the international community to not rush into recognising it.
The SCO Dushanbe Declaration had reaffirmed the “special role’’ of the SCO RATS in the joint fight against terrorism to ensure regional security. It also stated that the SCO member-states will continue to conduct joint anti-terrorism exercises such as the upcoming one at Pabbi in Pakistan.
The SCO Dushanbe Declaration calls for an Afghanistan free of terrorism and drugs and reiterated the need to have an inclusive government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society.
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