Pakistan has confirmed that it will attend the Shanghai cooperation organisation’s anti-terror exercises in India. Pakistan, which is a part of SCO will take part in counter-terror drills in Haryana’s Manesar in October. These exercises will be conducted under the ambit of the SCO regional anti-terrorism structure (RATS).
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A three-member Pakistani delegation will take part in the meeting in Delhi. While the SCO as a grouping came into existence in 2001, India and Pakistan became members of it in 2017. It is important to note that the Pakistani delegation visits Delhi for the meeting to participate in a multilateral event, but this is among the first government delegation visits to India since the new government took charge in Islamabad after the unceremonious departure of the Imran Khan govt. India has also participated, along with Pakistan, in various SCO initiatives, including an anti-terror drill in Russia’s Chebarkul in 2018.
India & RATS:
India will be hosting the SCO RATS council meeting on October 14th this year in Delhi. New Delhi has also proposed holding a SCO joint anti-terrorist exercise (JATE) in Manesar this year, something that has been supported by all member countries. The last such anti-terror exercises took place in Pakistan’s Pabbi. On March 25th this year, the 37th meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO RATS) took place in Tashkent under the chairmanship of India.
The meeting comes even as India is the current chair of the executive council of SCO Rats. Earlier this year, Director of SCO RATS Mirzaev Ruslan Erkinovich visited India and held talks with Indian leadership, including NSA Ajit Doval, Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi, BSF Chief.
- SCO-RATS is a permanent body of the SCO and is intended to facilitate coordination and interaction between the SCO member states in the fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism.
- The main functions of SCO-RATS are coordination and information sharing.
- As a member, India has actively participated in the activities of SCO-RATS.
- India’s permanent membership would enable it to generate greater understanding among members for its perspective.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO):
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was established as a multilateral association to ensure security and maintain stability across the vast Eurasian region.
- It envisages joining forces to counteract emerging challenges and threats, and enhance trade, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation. It was created in 2001.
- Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
- Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
- Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
- The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003. The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
- SCO has two Permanent Bodies:
- SCO Secretariat in Beijing,
- Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent.