Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the meeting of Defence Ministers of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Delhi on Friday, stating that the cooperation should fight terrorism together for the member states to emerge stronger. Singh said that the SCO forum provides an opportunity for the members to exchange views, share perspectives and concerns as it is an important platform to discuss solutions for the challenges the states are facing. He emphasized that India sees SCO as an important entity to promote defense cooperation among member states.
“We should unitedly fight terrorism. If SCO has to emerge stronger, we have to fight together. Terror groups are using new methods like social media and crowdfunding,” Rajnath Singh said, as quoted by news agency PTI.
“India is fully committed to making SCO stronger, contributing to the implementation of SCO’s mandate, and facing our common challenges. To ensure a secure, stable, and prosperous region, we need to focus on our agenda. This will help in improving the quality of life of the people of each member country,” he added.
Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu, Russia’s Sergei Shoigu, Tajikistan’s Colonel General Sherali Mirzo, Iran’s Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiyani, and Kazakhstan’s Colonel General Ruslan Zhaksylykov were among those attending the meeting in Delhi. Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif was scheduled to participate in the meeting through virtual mode.
Officials involved in preparations for the meeting earlier reported that the main focus of the deliberations would be on regional security situations, including the developments in Afghanistan. Enhancing coordination among the SCO member countries to effectively combat terrorism and extremism will be another priority.
The SCO was founded in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became permanent members in 2017. India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region. India has shown a keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defense.