SCO backs India-Pakistan talks to resolve post-Pulwama row

Secretary General of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Vladimir Norov during a meeting in Beijing.

Secretary General of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Vladimir Norov during a meeting in Beijing.   | Photo Credit: How Hwee Young

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after a suicide bomber of terror group JeM killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama.

The eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation organisation (SCO) has backed a bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan so that the two countries can resolve their differences, following last month’s Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir.

Addressing his first press conference on March 20 after taking over as the new Secretary General of the SCO, Vladimir Norov supported direct talks between New Delhi and Islamabad as the way forward to resolve their differences.

“As for the refusal to accept mediation proposals from member states (of the) organisation, we see in this an intention to resolve emerging disputes in the bilateral format and through dialogue,” Mr. Norov said.

He added that membership of India and Pakistan — two large countries in South Asia — benefited the entire Eurasian region.

Military tensions between India and Pakistan had escalated dramatically following the February 14 Pulwama attack, in which more than 40 CRPF personnel had been killed.

Mr. Norov stressed that differences between India and Pakistan “must and are being resolved through bilateral consultations and dialogue, goodwill and reasonable compromises”.

The SCO head made it plain that the grouping does not offer a dispute settlement mechanism where member countries can lodge their differences. “As you know, before joining the SCO as full members, India and Pakistan assumed commitments to strictly abide by the legal regulations drafted by the SCO member states.

One of these vital commitments is to abstain from bringing bilateral contradictions and disputes into the SCO because it does not settle disputed bilateral issues, be they related to borders, water or anything else in relations between individual SCO member states,” he observed.

But he pointed out that because of their involvement in its institutions and initiatives, the SCO provides India and Pakistan ample opportunities, to interact with each other.

Mr. Norov said representatives of India and Pakistan have been actively working in the SCO Secretariat and the executive committee of the Tashkent-based SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS). Besides, the two countries were working together in all the 29 working mechanisms of the organisation.

“Sitting at the same negotiating table on a regular basis and in different formats, India and Pakistan are taking part in continuous dialogue on all current items of the SCO agenda,” he observed.

The Secretary General stressed that India and Pakistan have points of contact and are ready to work in the SCO to ensure regional security and sustainable socio-economic progress and to jointly address comprehensive challenges and threats.

“The Indian and Pakistani leaders made statements to this effect at the Qingdao Summit. They announced their intention to play an active, constructive role in the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group because peace and stability in that country is a source of common concern of all SCO member states.”

He added: “It is common knowledge that continuous dialogue facilitates mutual understanding, trust and new points of contact, all the more so if it is based on overlapping long-term strategic interests.”

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(The story has been modified due to a factual error owing to mistranslation)

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:57:13 PM |

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