Agreeing to cooperate in the fight against “international terrorism”, “extremism”, “separatism”, and “religious radicalism”, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Pakistan counterpart Moeed Yusuf joined NSAs of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Thursday, 24 June.
This is the 16th meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO.
The meeting also discussed cooperation between member states in ensuring reliable information security, the joint fight against cybercrime and the issues of biological security and food security in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
While there is no confirmation of a meeting between Doval and Yusuf, the SCO meeting is a significant development given the fragile LoC relations India currently has with its neighbours on both sides.
Besides Doval and Yusuf, the meeting was attended by Asset Issekeshev of Kazakhstan, Marat Imankulov of the Kyrgyz Republic, Nikolai Patrushev of Russia, Nasrullo Mahmudzoda of Tajikistan, Bobur Usmanov of Uzbekistan, and Regional Anti Terrorism Structure (RATS) Director Jumakhon Giyosov. However, there was no representation from China in the meeting.
Last SOC Meeting
The previous SCO meeting in September 2020 between the NSAs led to tensions between the neighbours, leading to Doval walking out of the virtual meeting.
It was reported that Pakistani representative Moeed Yusuf presented a map that inaccurately showed the borders of the two countries and incorporated India’s two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh – and Junagadh in the western state of Gujarat in Pakistan’s territory.
India had reacted strongly against Pakistan and has described the move as an “exercise in political absurdity” with no legal validity.
India-Pakistan Relations in 2021
India-Pakistan have been holding back-channel talks for the last few months, with Doval holding dialogues with the Pakistan’s civilian-military leadership.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on 23 March, stated that India desires cordial relations with Pakistan but in an atmosphere "devoid of terror and hostility", reported news agency PTI.
“As a neighbouring country, India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. For this, an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative,” PM Modi wrote in the letter, reported PTI.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in response to PM Mod’s letter, stressed on the importance of creating an “enabling environment” for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries.
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