Agreeing to cooperate in the fight against “international terrorism”, “extremism”, “separatism”, and “religious radicalism”, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Pakistan counterpart Moeed Yusuf joined NSAs of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Thursday, 24 June.
This is the 16th meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO.
The meeting also discussed cooperation between member states in ensuring reliable information security, the joint fight against cybercrime and the issues of biological security and food security in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
What Doval Said
According to sources, NSA Doval proposed an action plan against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) under the SCO framework, and urged for the adoption of international standards to counter terror financing, emphasising a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SCO and Financial Action Task Force (FATF), ANI reported.
He went on to condemn terrorism in all its from and stressed the need for the perpetrators to be brought to immediate justice.
Speaking on the need for the complete implementation of UN resolutions and directed sanctions against UN-designated terror entities and persons, ANI reported.
The NSA advisor also underlined the importance of monitoring the most recent technologies, such as drones, dark web, artificial intelligence, blockchain and social media, which are employed by terrorists in today's world, ANI reported.
The meet also deliberated on Afghanistan with Doval stressing on the need to maintain the gains made in the territory, saying that India supports SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan, which should be more active.
While there is no confirmation of a meeting between Doval and Yusuf, the SCO meeting is a significant development given the fragile LoC relations India currently has with its neighbours on both sides.
Besides Doval and Yusuf, the meeting was attended by Asset Issekeshev of Kazakhstan, Marat Imankulov of the Kyrgyz Republic, Nikolai Patrushev of Russia, Nasrullo Mahmudzoda of Tajikistan, Bobur Usmanov of Uzbekistan, and Regional Anti Terrorism Structure (RATS) Director Jumakhon Giyosov. However, there was no representation from China in the meeting.
The Union Ministry of External Affairs offered its insight in the afternoon, with spokesperson Arindam Bagchi informing the press that the leaders deliberated over issues of international and regional security, as well as the subject of illicit trafficking of drugs, ANI reported.
Further, they also discussed the preparations for the SCO Summit of Heads of State, which is to take place in Dushanbe, purportedly in September of 2021.
"An outcome document, in the nature of a protocol, was adopted after the NSA-level meeting. I understand that as per practice, the SCO Secretariat will make this document public on its website some time later," Bagchi added, ANI reported.
Last SCO Meeting
The previous SCO meeting in September 2020 between the NSAs led to tensions between the neighbours, leading to Doval walking out of the virtual meeting.
It was reported that Pakistani representative Moeed Yusuf presented a map that inaccurately showed the borders of the two countries and incorporated India’s two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh – and Junagadh in the western state of Gujarat in Pakistan’s territory.
India had reacted strongly against Pakistan and has described the move as an “exercise in political absurdity” with no legal validity.
India-Pakistan Relations in 2021
India-Pakistan have been holding back-channel talks for the last few months, with Doval holding dialogues with the Pakistan’s civilian-military leadership.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on 23 March, stated that India desires cordial relations with Pakistan but in an atmosphere "devoid of terror and hostility", reported news agency PTI.
“As a neighbouring country, India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. For this, an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative,” PM Modi wrote in the letter, reported PTI.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in response to PM Mod’s letter, stressed on the importance of creating an “enabling environment” for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries.