Amid a stand-off in the Sikkim sector with Chinese troops, India has attended an SCO meeting in China to enhance anti-terrorism and border control mechanisms among member nations, the first plenary meeting after India and Pakistan became full members of the China-dominated security grouping. Seven Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states including China, India and Russia participated in the organisation’s meeting of heads of border control departments on Thursday in Dalian, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
Officials from the Indian Embassy attended the Dalian meeting of the SCO. This is the first plenary meeting since India and Pakistan joined the grouping in June. The other members are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan last month became full members of the SCO that is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO.
India’s membership was strongly pushed by Russia while Pakistan’s entry into the grouping was backed by China. Member states discussed how to cooperate on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, state-run Global Times reported. The members also talked about a joint operation along the border to prevent trans-border crimes and to improve the organisation’s cooperation on safeguarding border security at the SCO meeting, the report said.
Border enforcement cooperation is an important part of cooperation between China and other SCO member states, Chen Dingwu, a senior official at China’s Ministry of Public Security’s Border Control Department, said. He said China values the collaboration with border control departments of other countries, and has already built cooperation mechanisms with 11 neighbouring countries, including SCO members.
SCO member states are willing to discuss issues of common interest based on equality as provided by the Shanghai Spirit, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov said. Alimov said the SCO will create a positive political atmosphere to comprehensively consolidate and develop trust, respect and friendship.
The Chinese daily said the Indian delegation attended the meeting “despite border rift with China in the Sikkim sector”. “Observers believed that relations between China and India were unaffected by the stand-off between Chinese army and Indian troops along the Sino-India border,” the daily said. There is an ongoing stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector after the Indian Army blocked construction of a road by China in Doklam, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan.