China, Pakistan likely to join India-led SCO NSA meeting virtually amid border tensions

India will host the meetings of SCO national security advisers (NSA) and top national security officials in New Delhi

Livemint
First Published27 Mar 2023, 10:55 PM IST
18th meeting of Chief Justices/Chairpersons of the Supreme Courts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
18th meeting of Chief Justices/Chairpersons of the Supreme Courts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)(PTI)

Pakistan and China have decided in principle to participate in three key upcoming meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) hosted by India, but the mode of participation is yet to be finalized and sources are claiming that the representatives from the countries will attend the summit virtually.

On March 29, India will host the meetings of SCO national security advisers (NSA) and top national security officials in New Delhi. After that during April 27-29, the defense minister's meeting will be conducted in the capital city.

The foreign minister's meeting is scheduled in Goa from 4 to 5 May and after that SCO Summit to be held in July. India will be holding the summit for the first time after joining the grouping in 2017.

“While there is an in-principle decision on attending all these upcoming meetings, the mode of participation – whether it will be in-person or virtual – is yet to be decided,” one person from Pakistan said.

“A decision is also yet to be made whether foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari or minister of state for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will join the meeting of foreign ministers,” another added.

In Pakistan, currently, the post of NSA is vacant, and in the absence, a senior defense official is expected to attend the summit.

According to the reports from Pakistan, there was a division in the decision as to whether to attend the SCO summit or not, in view of the instability in bilateral relations with India. One view is that given the current state of the bilateral relationship, Pakistan if required, would only send junior officials to the SCO meetings.

Another view from the government vouched for complete involvement in the SCO-level meetings and they believe that Pakistan should participate in important regional forums and not miss out on valuable opportunities. As the SCO consists of influential nations such as Russia and China, Pakistan should take advantage of this chance to promote its own interests.

Recently, Pakistan skipped a military medicine conference arranged by an Indian think-tank under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) due to objections raised by the host regarding an inaccurate representation of Kashmir on a map.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published:27 Mar 2023, 10:55 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaChina, Pakistan likely to join India-led SCO NSA meeting virtually amid border tensions

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