Exclusive: India, Pak NSA to be in Dushanbe next week for SCO NSAs meet

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Published: Jun 19, 2021, 01:42 PM(IST)

File photo: Ajit Doval. Photograph:( PTI )

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Tajikistan is the chair of the grouping and took the chairmanship of the SCO at a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in November of 2020. Ahead of the meet, early June saw a protocol meeting to decide the nitty-gritty of the meet

India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Pakistani NSA Moeed Yusuf along with NSAs of other countries will be in Dushanbe, Tajikistan next week for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO in-person meeting. The meet due on June 23 and 24 will see NSAs of SCO countries meeting in person.

Tajikistan is the chair of the grouping and took the chairmanship of the SCO at a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in November of 2020. Ahead of the meet, early June saw a protocol meeting to decide the nitty-gritty of the meet.

Next week's SCO NSAs meet is expected to see participation of Russian NSA Nikolai Patrushev, Chinese counterpart. 

Afghanistan is an observer member of SCO with Afghan NSA Hamdullah Mohib going to the city as part of his larger central Asia visit. Mohib and Doval could even hold bilateral meeting in Dushanbe which comes in the backdrop of US withdrawal from Afghanistan and increased violence by Taliban.

While there is no confirmation of Indian and Pakistani NSAs having a bilateral meeting, or pull aside, the development comes at a time when both New Delhi and Islamabad have been cautious in ties in the last few months. February saw the Indian, Pakistan army agreeing to observe the 2003 ceasefire pact at the LoC in Kashmir. Since then, the pact has stood and the area hasn't seen any firing.

Since February this year, twice--both India's external minister Dr S Jaishankar and Pakistan FM SM Qureshi have been in the same location but no meeting has happened. In March, both were in Dushanbe for the Heart of Asia meet on Afghanistan, later in April, both were in UAE for a bilateral visit, respectively.

Interestingly, Pak, Afghan NSA will also be present in Dushanbe. This comes even as Pakistan foreign minister SM Qureshi was seen defending the Taliban in an interview to an Afghan channel TOLO News's Lotfullah Najafizada. Pak FM said, "if you try and create this impression that the violence is high because of Taliban, that would be exaggeration."

SCO has 8 member states--Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and 4 central Asian countries--Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. 2017 saw India and Pakistan officially joining the grouping as full-fledged members. November last year saw India hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization heads of government meeting virtually.  That was the first time India was hosting such a meet of the group, with India's Vice President Venkaiah Naidu chairing it.

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