China’s Xi hopes for enhanced India-Pakistan cooperation in SCO


BEIJING: Ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao in June, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pitched for enhancing security cooperation with both India and Pakistan and has voiced hope for greater cooperation between the subcontinental rivals in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

The Chinese leader underlined that the entry of India and Pakistan into the SCO at the Astana summit last year has enhanced the potential for cooperation and raised the expectations from the international community.

President Xi has identified regional security and stability as the top priority of the eight-member bloc.

“SCO members have fought the three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism and made important contributions to regional peacekeeping, development and prosperity,” Mr. Xi was quoted as saying by the state-controlled China Daily newspaper.

“Numerous challenges remain, including the three evil forces, plus drug smuggling and cross-border organised crime, each of which threatens the region,” Mr Xi added.

Mr Xi’s balancing act between India and Pakistan comes amid apprehensions that the entry of the two rivals could create additional complications for the SCO due to their history of enmity and festering tensions over issues like Kashmir and terrorism.

On May 22, top security officials from SCO countries held a meeting, which included India’s Deputy National Security Advisor (NSA) Rajinder Khanna. Pakistan’s NSA Nasser Khan Janjua and officials from other member countries were also present at the two-day meet.

China’s Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi, who presided over the meeting, told reporters that the member countries have reached an important consensus.

During his meeting with Mr Khanna, Zhao stated that China is willing to work with India to strengthen high-level mutual visits, improve cooperation mechanisms, enhance cooperation on anti-terrorism, and promote healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.

For his part, Khanna said “India stands ready to work with China to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and enhance cooperation on law enforcement and security,” official news agency Xinhua said in a report.

Mr Zhao swore by China’s all-weather friendship with Pakistan. “China stands ready to maintain close coordination with Pakistan under the SCO framework, and enhance bilateral cooperation on fighting transnational crime, anti-terrorism and security issues along the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC),” Mr Zhao said during his interaction with Pakistan’s NSA Janjua.

“China would consolidate all-weather friendship and deepen strategic cooperation with Pakistan,” Zhao noted.

India has opposed China’s OBOR initiative as its flagship project CPEC passes through the Pakistan-Controlled Kashmir, which amounts to violating India’s sovereignty.