India to host Defence Ministers from SCO grouping


Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu at a meeting in Moscow.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu at a meeting in Moscow.
| Photo Credit: AFP

India will host Defence Ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) grouping, including China’s Li Shangfu and Russia’s Sergei Shoigu, later this week, India’s Ministry of Defence said on April 25.

While Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif is expected to join the conference virtually and won’t join in person, a Pakistani Defence Ministry delegation arrived in India on April 25 for the SCO meet via the Wagah-Attari border.

As Chair this year of the SCO, which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan besides India, New Delhi will be hosting the visiting Defence Ministers from member countries, as well as from observers Belarus and Iran.

“The Defence Ministers will discuss amongst other issues matters concerning regional peace and security, counter-terrorism efforts within the SCO and an effective multilateralism,” a statement on Tuesday said, adding that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will also hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines.

Beijing on Tuesday announced that the newly appointed State Councillor and Defence Minister General Li Shangfu will visit India on April 27 and 28, and also hold bilateral meetings.

This will be the first high-level military visit from China since the start of the LAC crisis in April 2020. On Sunday, both sides held the 18th round of military talks between Corps Commanders, agreeing that restoring peace along the border areas would “enable progress” in recently strained relations.

Presenting of credentials

On Monday, India’s Ambassador in Beijing, Pradeep Kumar Rawat, who took office in March 2022, was among 70 foreign envoys who formally presented their credentials to President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in the capital. The presenting of credentials to Mr. Xi by foreign envoys was thought to have been delayed on account of the “zero-COVID” restrictions in place for much last year when the Chinese leader had strictly restricted public engagements, as well as by the holding of the National People’s Congress in March which marked the start of Mr. Xi’s third term as President. The stringent COVID policy was finally withdrawn in early December.


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