The two-day meeting of the heads of governments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) being attended among others by Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh began today Zhengzhou city to step up regional cooperation against terrorism.
Presided over by Premier Li Keqiang the meeting is also being attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
During the two-day meeting, heads of government from the SCO members — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are expected to discuss cooperation in trade, investment, finance, transportation and culture.
Anti-terrorism will be high on the agenda this year as the world is confronted with new, severe terrorist challenges, Shi Ze, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) told state-run Xinhua news agency.
Mr. Shi said, the security situation is still fragile in Pakistan, putting pressure on SCO member states.
Many SCO member states are close to areas where the Islamic State (IS) extremist group has been conducting terrorist attacks.
“Anti-terrorism is an urgent task for all member states in the bloc,” Mr. Shi said.
The SCO formed the Executive Committee of Regional Anti-Terrorism to help fight terror in 2004, but more work needs to be done in light of the new situation, he said.
The leaders are expected to discuss how to prevent the penetration of terrorist forces as well as how to better coordinate information and exchanges.
They are also expected to sign a host of cooperation deals and SCO internal affairs resolutions, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said ahead of the meeting.
Among the most anticipated is a plan to make customs clearances between member countries much easier between 2016 to 2021, in order to promote trade within the bloc.
The meeting is also being attended by Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariyev, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Tajik Prime Minister Qohir Rasulzoda, and First Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov.
India and Pakistan which are SCO observers are due to join as regular members.
The 15th SCO summit held in the Russian city of Ufa in July formally approved a proposal to admit India and Pakistan as regular members.
Officials say the process of admission will take a while.
India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are taking part in the meeting as observers.
Attendees also include representatives from international organisations, including the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.
President Xi Jinping will meet government leaders of SCO member states on the sidelines of the meeting.