New Delhi: Foreign ministers of India, China, Pakistan and five other member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) began a key meeting of the grouping in Dushanbe on Wednesday with a focus on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is representing India at the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting.
“SCO FMM begins. 20th year is an opportune time to reflect on achievements & deliberate on challenges. Afghanistan and post-Covid recovery are pressing concerns,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi are among the participants at the meeting.
The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, is an eight-member economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations. India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.
SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India has shown 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.
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.