Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on disaster prevention and relief in Kyrgyz Republic beginning tomorrow during which he will have bilateral meetings with member nations. “During the visit, the home minister is likely to have bilateral meetings with the ministers of some of the SCO member states,” an official statement said today.
Founded in 2001, the SCO member countries are: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan, and the bloc is headquartered in Beijing. When asked whether the home minister will meet his Chinese counterpart, a home ministry spokesperson said as of now no meeting has been fixed.
If Singh meets his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the SCO meeting, it will bear significance as India and China has been engaged in a stand-off at Dokalam near the Sikkim sector. On Monday, the home minister had said a solution to the ongoing stand-off between India and China at Dokalam would be found soon and hoped that Beijing would make a positive move in this regard. China, however, yesterday said the only way to end the standoff in Dokalam was for India to unconditionally withdraw its troops from the area. India and Pakistan had joined the SCO, the China- dominated security grouping, in June in Kazakhstan capital Astana. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the summit.
Today’s statement said Singh is leading a delegation to attend the 9th meeting of heads of governments of SCO member states to be held at Choplon Ata in Kyrgyz Republic on August 24-25. The meeting will deal with the prevention and elimination of emergency situations. The participation of India as SCO member will open the additional opportunities for giving new impetus to the development of international cooperation in the field of protecting the population and territories from emergency situations within the framework of the SCO and will bring it qualitatively new positions in regional and global formats, the statement said.
The meeting will consider and approve the draft action plan for 2018-2019 for the implementation of the agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in providing assistance in the elimination of emergency situations, it said. The Indian delegation includes senior officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Disaster Management Authority and the Ministry of External Affairs.