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India should focus on highlighting Pak’s role in fomenting cross-border terror at SCO summit: Experts

SCO summit

New Delhi, September 11: India should focus on highlighting Pakistan’s role in fomenting cross-border terror and the continuing patronage of terror networks by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, said eminent diplomats and strategic experts ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Uzbekistan for the SCO summit next week.
Pankaj Saran, India’s former Deputy National Security Adviser, and former envoy to Russia, underscored that India should place its concerns on cross-border terror at the SCO summit, which will also be attended by the leaders of China and Pakistan.
India should also raise the issue of ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan, said Saran at a virtual conference on ‘India’s role in Central Asia’ organised by India Writes Network and Centre for Global India Insights (CGII), a think tank focused on global affairs.
Referring to the continuing patronage of anti-India terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Afghanistan by the establishment in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Saran added that the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), a permanent SCO sub-grouping, has emerged as a key discussion platform on terrorist threats from Afghanistan. India is currently chairing the RATS.
Manish Chand, Director, Centre for Global India Insights (CGII), and Editor, India and the World magazine, underlined that India has vital national interests in intensifying engagement with the SCO. “Understanding India’s role and potential to shape the geopolitical and geoeconomic landscape is crucially important as India takes over the presidency of SCO from Uzbekistan and will host the next summit,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif are expected to join the leaders from other countries to attend the SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15-16.
Manish Prabhat, India’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan, underlined the centrality of Central Asia in SCO agenda. “In Central Asia, in the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, India is a strong votary of this principle that Central Asia should be central to SCO, and whatever happens in SCO, you need to take into account the interests of Central Asia,” said Prabhat in the webinar.
“Central Asia is now trying to speak in one voice. There is greater emphasis on economic integration in Central Asia. India is on the right track in enhancing its engagement with the region,” he added.
“Central Asian countries are also looking for options outside the region and beyond China and Russia. India can definitely be one of the important players, as far as this is concerned. It’s a win-win situation for SCO and India,” said Sajjanhar, India’s former Ambassador to Kazakhstan.
Stressing that bilateral differences between India and China will not derail SCO cooperation, Prof Srikanth Kondapalli, China expert and Dean, SIS, JNU, said that SCO should promote civil society interactions, especially between media, educational institutions, think tanks, and other fora to maximize its impact in the region. (Agencies)