Peace Mission: India, Pakistan for first time to participate together in SCO counter-terror exercise
For first time, arch rivals India and Pakistan are taking part in Peace Mission, a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia to be held in September 2018. The military exercise is going to take place under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India’s participation at exercise was confirmed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during meeting of SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting held in Beijing, China in April 2018.
Peace Mission counter-terror military exercise will be held in the Ural mountains of Russia and almost all SCO member countries are taking part in it. Its main aim is to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries. It will be for first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of military exercise, though armies of two arch rival neighbouring countries have worked together in UN peacekeeping missions.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
SCO is political and security grouping headquartered in Beijing. It was founded in 2001. The full members of organization are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan. They represent over 40% of humanity and nearly 20% of the global GDP. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have observer status at present.
SCO is successor of grouping called Shanghai Five, founded by China in 1996. It comprised Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001 Uzbekistan was invited to join it and SCO was officially born. After Astana Summit Declaration in 2005, SCO has emerged as a regional security organization
SCO’s main objective is military cooperation between the members. It also works towards intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia. It is primarily centred on its member nations’ Central Asian security-related concerns, often describing main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism. The role of China as well as strategic importance of SCO has increased over period of decade and now address problems like terrorism, separatism and militancy in the region.