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Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane is leading the Indian delegation to Kazakhstan’s Astana from April 25-26, 2024 for the Annual Meeting of the Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States, the Ministry of Defence said in a release on Wednesday. The meeting will review the regional security issues within the SCO, including the defence cooperation initiatives.

Giridhar Aramane will deliver the India statement at the ministerial meeting, the Ministry said in its release. He will also hold meetings with Defence Ministers of the friendly countries of the SCO to discuss issues of bilateral defence cooperation, it added. Earlier this month, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval led a delegation at the 19th Meeting of Secretaries of the Security Council of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Astana.

In his address, Doval highlighted the need to shun double standards and hold sponsors, financiers and facilitators of terrorism accountable. In his address, NSA Doval stated that any act of terror committed by whomsoever, whenever and for whatever reasons is not justified. He asserted that perpetrators of terrorism should be effectively and expeditiously dealt with, including those involved in cross-border terrorism.

He raised the issue of the continued threat posed by various terror groups in the SCO region, including those designated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including Al Qaeda and its affiliates, ISIS & its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad. Highlighting the ties between SCO nations and India, he stated that the relationship goes back several centuries and is committed to further deepening it. He emphasised that India is committed to enhancing transit trade and connectivity, which he stressed must be fully respectful of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of SCO member States.