New Delhi: The fast-evolving regional security situation, developments in Afghanistan and ways to boost cooperation in effectively combating terrorism and extremism are set to be the key focus of a conclave of the defence ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Delhi Friday.
Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu, Tajikistan’s Colonel General Sherali Mirzo, Iran’s Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiyani and Kazakhstan’s Colonel General Ruslan Zhaksylykov have already arrived in the national capital.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his counterparts from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are also attending the meeting to be chaired by Rajnath Singh.
Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif is set to attend the meeting via virtual mode.
Officials involved in preparations for the meeting said the main focus of the deliberations will be on regional security situations including the developments in Afghanistan.
They said enhancing coordination among the SCO member countries to effectively combat terrorism and extremism will be another priority.
Ahead of the SCO meeting, Singh held bilateral talks with Li, Colonel General Zhaxylykov and Colonel General Mirzo.
Singh also held a bilateral meeting with Brigadier General Ashtiyani.
The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.
It was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.
India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.
India has shown a keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.