Beijing: China has welcomed the joint participation of Pakistan and India in the ongoing anti-terrorism exercise under the SCO framework.
Both the countries are important countries in South Asia. The stability of India-Pakistan relations is of great significance to regional peace and stability and even world peace and development, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular news briefing held here on Monday.
She added, “We sincerely hope that India and Pakistan will strengthen bilateral relations and will cooperate within multilateral mechanisms such as the SCO, improve relations and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.”
India and Pakistan participated for the first time in the 2018 SCO “Peace Mission” anti-terrorism exercise held in Russia.
The Indian and Pakistani Ministry of Defense officials said that they believe that the two sides can learn from each other, which is a unique opportunity to exchange experiences.
The counter-terrorism drill by SCO countries, which began last Wednesday, is the largest under the SCO charter with the participation of India and Pakistan for the first time, and Chinese experts say the drill will greatly contribute to stability in Central and South Asia.
The joint drill which will continue until August 29, see the participation of at least 3,000 soldiers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan.
The drill plays a positive role in deepening defense and security cooperation among member countries, enhancing capacity in tackling new threats and challenges, and safeguarding regional peace and stability, China’s Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said at a recent press conference.
The previous SCO counter-terrorism drills were mainly limited to Central Asia. But because of the entry of India and Pakistan, the SCO’s counter-terrorism mission has expanded to South Asia, Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing.
“The effective counter-terrorism cooperation among SCO countries has greatly undermined terrorist groups in Central Asia in recent years, and it’s expected that this effective cooperation will also boost stability in South Asia, a region facing a more complicated counter-terrorism situation with a variety of active terrorist groups,” Li said.
Sun Zhuangzhi, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told the local media that Peace Mission 2018 will also greatly improve military and political mutual trust among SCO countries, especially between India and Pakistan.
“It’s a rare opportunity for Pakistan and India, which have long been involved in military conflict, to enhance military exchanges and trust. This could improve regional stability,” Sun said.