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SOURCE: PTI

With the SCO summit set to discuss various regional security challenges including terrorism, India on Thursday said there is a “deeply held” understanding in the grouping about the nature of menace and the source of the problem, in an oblique reference to Pakistan.

At a media briefing, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has been focused on practical cooperation to deal with terrorism. His response came when asked how SCO envisages to carry forward its counter-terror cooperation when Pakistan actively harbours anti-India terror groups and China blocking efforts at the UN Security Council to designate terrorists.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday left for the Uzbek city of Samarkand to attend the annual summit of the SCO which is set to discuss a range of key challenges facing the region including threat of terrorism and extremism.

“You know, there are multiple ways to look at how different countries assess and look at the challenge of terrorism in the region. You mentioned about Pakistan and it’s linked with the challenge of terrorism in the region,” Mr Kwatra said.

“I can tell you that if you look at the history of discussions on countering terrorism, within the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organization you will find that both the substance of the discussion and the various structures of the SCO, their handling of this issue has evolved over a period of years,” he said.

Mr Kwatra added that “now, irrespective of what a particular country does on this problem of terrorism, there is deeply held, I would say, understanding and a deep appreciation within the SCO countries of what the nature of this terrorism is, where this problem comes from and most importantly, the need for the SCO countries on their own as also for the SCO structures including in particular RATS to come together and form ways for practical cooperation,” he said.

The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of SCO (RATS SCO) is focused on addressing key security challenges in the region including that of terrorism and extremism.

India is the current chair of the SCO-RATS.

Mr Kwatra said India has been focusing very strongly on cooperation to combat terrorism.

“I’m sure you would’ve followed that the SCO RATS structure has also decided to work towards creating a unified register of terrorist and extremist organisations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO member countries within SCO RATS,” he said.

Last month, China blocked a move at the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) deputy chief Abdul Rauf Azhar as a global terrorist.

China put a technical hold on the joint proposal by India and the US to designate the JeM leader, who is the younger brother of the outfit’s chief Masood Azhar.

All other 14 member states of the top UN body supported the proposal.

The Chinese action came less than a month after Beijing blocked a similar joint proposal by India and the US to blacklist Pakistan-based deputy leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba Abdul Rehman Makki.