The ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Monday whether Pakistan will join India’s initiatives at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting is up to them and backed this with SCO charter’s provision. “As far as whether Pakistan is going to join (our) initiatives, it’s up to them. SCO charter has a provision that one country cannot hold up cooperation in areas and allows member countries which are interested to take it forward with the exclusion of one country that is opposing,” MEA secretary Vikas Swarup said.
Swarup said that India considers SCO as an important regional organisation to promote cooperation in the areas of peace, security, trade, economy and culture. “We are committed to deepening our cooperation with SCO by playing a proactive, positive and constructive role,” the MEA secretary said.
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Earlier in the day, India indirectly cornered Pakistan for using terrorism as an instrument of state policy and called for collective efforts to combat the menace during a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government.
Vice president M Venkaiah Naidu, who chaired the virtual meeting of the council, hurled the attack without naming Pakistan and said, “India condemns terrorism in all its manifestations. We remain concerned about threats emerging from ungoverned spaces and are particularly concerned about states that leverage terrorism as an instrument of state policy.”
Panning Pakistan’s stance, Naidu said, “Such an approach is entirely against the spirit and ideas and the charter of the SCO. Elimination of this threat will help all of us realise our shared potential and create conditions for stable and secure economic growth and sustainable development.”
Naidu also criticised Pakistan for attempting to use SCO to raise bilateral matters and said this went against the grouping’s charter, which safeguards the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states.
Pakistan has repeatedly sought to raise bilateral matters such as the Kashmir issue at multilateral forums and India had walked out of a virtual meeting of national security advisers of SCO in September after the Pakistani representative projected a map that inaccurately depicted the borders of the two countries.