ISLAMABAD: The Expert Working Group of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Thursday completed its two-day discussions on international and regional security and efforts to preserve peace and stability.
“The 9th Defence and Security Expert Working Group (EWG) meeting of SCO was held at Islamabad from 19-20 February 2020,” the ISPR said in a statement on the first meeting of the SCO framework for defence and security cooperation hosted by Pakistan, which joined the bloc in 2017.
This was also the first meeting of the group under ‘SCO Defence & Security Cooperation Plan – 2020’ that envisages defence and security cooperation among member states particularly through training military personnel for increasing their capability and preparedness.
The defence and security cooperation mechanism of the SCO, which has existed since 2001, provides for extensive cooperation in multiple areas in the field of defence and security including counter-terrorism cooperation, functional exchanges and joint exercises.
The EWG feeds into the defence ministers’ forum of the bloc.
The meeting in Islamabad was attended by all members of the SCO including India, which is usually reluctant to attend multilateral gatherings in Pakistan due to bilateral tensions, and Belarus as the observer state.
“The participating countries besides Pakistan as a host included China, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India, whereas Belarus attended the meeting as the observer state,” the ISPR said.
Pakistan and India last year, despite their intense rivalry and disputes, together participated in Tsentr-2019 military exercises in Russia.
“The forum discussed different aspects of cooperation between the SCO member states and regional security. The participants also exchanged information and opinions on important issues of mutual interest including joint training and military exercises,” the ISPR further said.
Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020