|Terrorism and extremism to be focus of SCO Summit next month – new government’s first major engagement|
The first major international engagement of the new government will be the two days Bishkek Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit (SCO) from June 13-14 where the focus would be on radicalism and terrorism. This forum will also give India a chance to raise issues relating to terrorism, the stability of Afghanistan, and rising radicalism in Central Asian countries.
Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, Prof Rajan Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, says, “The SCO is an important forum where India will discuss the issue of rising radicalism in Central Asia and emerging politics in Afghanistan. Keeping in mind the negotiations between the Taliban and the US, the SCO will devise its own strategies for Afghanistan.”
According to him, both the security and stability of Afghanistan is one of the fundamental concerns for all the SCO members and these member countries will try to contain the spread of radicalism from Afghanistan to other neighboring countries.
Both India and Uzbekistan are already discussing the issue of radicalism. “They would like to promote the virtues of moderate forms of Islam as characterized by the Hanafi School of jurisprudence,” he adds.
For the SCO member countries, the growing influence of Wahhabism is an important concern, especially the Central Asian states. Therefore, containing them is an important issue for all Central Asian states, Kumar points out. Adding, dealing with the IS forces who might have returned to Central Asia from Syria and Iraq is another concern for the SCO.
Members of the SCO include China, Russia, India, and Pakistan and the Central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan whose main focus is to join hands together to fight terrorism, separatism, and extremism. Both India and Pakistan became full members of the SCO in 2017.
During the summit, the listing of Masood Azhar, JeM’s chief who is based in Pakistan too will be discussed.
Later this year, the SCO member nations will be participating in a joint anti-terrorism exercise. A decision for this joint the exercise was taken earlier this year ‘Sary-Arka-Antiterror 2019’ at the 34th meeting of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) council held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Also, plans were announced to hold the first level of the joint border operation “Solidarity 2019-2021,” where the heads of the border services, and training workshops on identifying and preventing the use of the Internet for terrorist, separatist and extremist purposes.
RATS is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism, and extremism and is headquartered in Tashkent.
India-Kyrgyzstan Bilateral Summit
According to diplomatic sources, on the sidelines, the bilateral summit is expected to take place which will focus on launching a joint study on opportunities from Eurasian Economic Union and market access for Indian goods and merchandise. Besides the launch of `Namaskar Eurasia’ in Bishkek, leaders of both countries will also talk about strengthening economic and trade cooperation.
Later this month industry body FICCI will hold an India-Kyrgyz Business forum meeting in New Delhi where the agenda for the business talks between the two countries will be firmed up.