India on Monday hosted the key meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in New Delhi to trashout anti-terror measures and discuss the security situation in Afghanistan.
The four-day meeting of the RATS begun at 9 am in the national capital in the presence of a three-member Pakistani delegation among other foreign dignitaries from seven other countries including China and Russia. The conclave will continue until May 19.
The RATS is a permanent body under the SCO based out of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The meeting, which will be held between Monday and Thursday, will see the participation of Pakistan and China.
The participation of Pakistan and its decision to send a three-member delegation to India holds significance since this is the first such government delegation that will be visiting New Delhi after Shahbaz Sharif took over the power in the country last month.
New Delhi is expecting that all parties will discuss the issues concerning the security situation in Afghanistan at the meeting in view of the escalating violence after the Taliban took over, according to a report in The Print.
According to reports, the discussion will also revolve around PM Narendra Modi’s address at the SCO-CSTO Outreach Summit which was held in September last year.
PM Modi had then stressed that “instability and fundamentalism persist in Afghanistan, it will encourage terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world.”
The member states of the SCO are Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan is among the observer states of the SCO.
“I thank India for hosting the key meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure in New Delhi today. The security & humanitarian situation has worsened in Afghanistan over the past 9 months,” Afghan envoy Farid Mamundzay tweeted.
“We expect this meeting to raise and propose solutions to all important issues related to the security situation in Afghanistan. Sincere regional security cooperation particularly from neighbouring countries is the only way forward for peace & development in Afghanistan and in the region,” he added.
India has not recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.
India has been concerned about the developments in Afghanistan. It hosted a regional dialogue on Afghanistan in November that was attended by National Security Advisors of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The participating countries vowed to work towards ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for global terrorism and called for the formation of an “open and truly inclusive” government in Kabul with representation from all sections of Afghan society. The Afghan issue has figured prominently in almost all key meetings of the SCO.