India to hold SCO anti-terror body meet; Pakistan to participate

Written By: Sidhant Sibal
NEW DELHI Updated: May 12, 2022, 10:55 AM(IST)

India will be hosting the SCO RATS council meeting on October 14th this year in Delhi. Photograph:( Reuters )

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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.

India will be hosting the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's (SCO's) anti-terror body--Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure or RATS--next week. The meeting will take place from May 16th to 19th in Delhi and will see the participation of all members of the grouping, including Pakistan. SCO's RATS, based out of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, is a permanent body of the grouping and aims to counter terrorism, extremism, and separatism in the region.

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.

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.

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 SCO grouping is one of the largest groupings, covering around 40% of the global population and 30% of the global GDP. The grouping is dominated by Russia and China and includes four central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. This year, Uzbekistan is the chair of the group and will hold the summit in September. It hands over the chairmanship to India, who will hold the summit next year. If an in-person summit happens next year, then leaders of China and Pakistan could visit India.

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