SCO Framework: India’s Three-member Team in Pakistan to Attend Anti-terror Exercise as ‘Observers’

A three-member team from Delhi is in Pakistan to take part in an anti-terror exercise under Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) framework, but only as “observers”. The decision to send the team comes nearly a fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the challenges of radicalisation had increased after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.

The three-member team from National Security Council Secretariat will be in Pabbi as observers and will not be involved in any military drill. The drill starts on October 4 and will see the participation of SCO member countries that include China and Pakistan.

Pabbi is in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and is the base of its National Counter Terror Centre. It is two and half hours from Abbottabad, where Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011.

The decision to hold the joint exercise, ‘Pabbi-Anti Terror-21’, was announced by regional anti-terror structure (RATS) of the eight-member SCO during its 36th meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on March 18. At the meeting, representatives of SCO member states also approved the draft programme of cooperation for 2022-2024 to counter-terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Delegations of the competent authorities of India, Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the RATS Executive Committee attended the meeting.

RATS, headquartered in Tashkent, is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

The SCO is an economic and security bloc in which India and Pakistan were admitted as full members in 2017. Its founding members included China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is seen as a counterweight to NATO, and has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations.

(With PTI inputs)

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