SCO Summit: Swaraj'll represent India, but will she meet Pakistan?
India and Pakistan will come face to face next week at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Russia's Sochi. There's still no proposal for diplomatic talks, sources said. Both recently became full members of the SCO. India and Pakistan were backed by Russia and China respectively. At the Asthana SCO summit, PM Narendra Modi had batted for coordinated efforts against terrorism.
About the Shanghai Co-Operation Organization
SCO was founded in 2001 after Shanghai Five, formed in 1996 including China, Russia and the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan, admitted Uzbekistan as a member. It focuses on security issues plaguing Central Asia, including terrorism and separatism. SCO members account for 60% of Eurasian landmass and after India and Pakistan's admission, it accounts for about half of the world's population.
India's history at the SCO
After the SCO's formation, India, Pakistan and Iran were inducted as observers during the 2005 summit at Astana. As an observer, India was able to take part in meetings, especially those targeted at military and political stability. At the 2010 summit, prohibitions on new memberships were lifted and India paved its way to membership. In June'17, India and Pakistan became full members.
Modi and Sharif had exchanged greetings at the Astana summit
At the earlier summit in June, Modi had run into former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif at the Leaders' Lounge in Astana Opera. It was the first time they had met after Sharif's surgery. Modi reportedly enquired about his health and family.
Sushma Swaraj likely to address terrorism at upcoming summit
At the summit on November 30-December 1, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj will represent India. Who will represent Pakistan isn't known yet. Like Modi, she is expected to address India's commitment to connectivity and sovereignty, particularly in the context of the CPEC that passes through the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region. Interestingly, all member countries including Pakistan will participate in counter-terror exercises under SCO's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.