Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu has arrived in Delhi to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting on 28 April. The meeting will be held in New Delhi and will focus on regional peace and security, counter-terrorism efforts, and effective multilateralism. Li will also participate in a bilateral meeting with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. This is Li’s first visit to India after the border transgression in Galwan. India and China held their 18th round of the India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting recently, agreeing to maintain security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector of the LAC.
SCO Defence Ministers’ Meet and India’s Chairmanship
The SCO is an intergovernmental organisation established in 2001 with seven member states, including India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Belarus and Iran will also be participating in the meeting as observer countries. India attaches special importance to the SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic, and people-to-people interactions in the region. The ongoing engagement with SCO has helped India promote its relations with the countries in the region with which India has shared civilizational linkages. The theme of India’s Chairmanship of SCO in 2023 is ‘Secure-SCO.’
Bilateral Meeting between India and Russia
Apart from the SCO meeting, Rajnath Singh is also likely to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu. The Russian Defence Minister had last visited India for the first India-Russia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in December 2021.
Principles of SCO Policy
SCO pursues its policy based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, non-interference in internal affairs, equality of all member states, and mutual understanding and respect for the opinions of each of them.
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