The SCO is the only multilateral platform for India to deal closely with both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
All eyes would be on the confirmation by Pakistan whether it would take part in the meet of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) following a formal invitation by India.
The SCO meeting will be held in Goa from May 4-5.
India has formally invited foreign ministers of China and Pakistan, Qin Gang and Bilawal Bhutto. India took over the chairmanship of the 9-member grouping in September 2022 and will be holding key ministerial meetings and the summit this year.
Pakistan is however yet to confirm whether or not it will take part in the meeting.
It may be recalled that Pakistan had not taken part in the SCO Film Festival to be held this month in Mumbai. While all the member nations have sent entries, Pakistan has not done so.
Neerja Shekar, Additional Secretary Information and Broadcasting said that there is only one SCO member country, from which entries have not been received. There has been no response, Shekar also said.
Russia, India, China, Pakistan, and four central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are the members of the SCO.
A low in ties:
The relations between India and Pakistan have not been something to speak about. India has repeatedly raised the issue of cross border terror. Pakistan on the other hand has been seeking the restoration of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir to which India has said that it is its internal matter.
The relations took another hit after Bhutto made remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations last month.
The significance of the SCO:
The significance of the SCO for India lies in the economic and geopolitics with the Eurasian states.
The SCO for India is an apt platform to advance India’s Connect Central Asia policy.
The SCO member states occupy a huge landmass which is adjacent to India’s extended neighbourhood where India has both economic and security interests. Moreover the SCO is the only multilateral platform for India to deal closely with Afghanistan and Pakistan.