Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers meeting took place in New Delhi under the chairship of India, with ministers from Russia, China, the Central Asian nations and observer nations Iran and Belarus discussing critical issues related to regional security.
The meeting was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and included Russia’s Sergei Shoigu, Tajikistan’s Colonel General Sherali Mirzo, Iran’s Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiyani, Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu, and Kazakhstan’s Colonel General Ruslan Zhaksylykov and other leaders. Malik Ahmed Khan, SAPM on Defence Affairs attended the meeting on behalf of Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif.
In addition to regional security, the ministers talked about the security challenges in Afghanistan, cross-border terrorism, radicalisation, and narco trafficking, among other issues. The priority of the SCO members’ nations is to further enhance efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.
India has been urging the member countries to also focus on military medicine and devise ways to deal with new emerging threats the soldiers face by the constantly evolving battlefield technology and threats of chemical, biological and nuclear warfare.
The SCO was set up in 2001 by Russia and China and Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became full members of the grouping in 2017. The defence ministers of the member countries focus on economic cooperation and security in the Eurasian region.