India invites Pakistan to Shanghai Co-operation Organisation anti-terrorism event

India's elite commando unit, the National Security Guard, said the exercise was to exchange expertise and best practices

Leaders of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation's eight member states pictured at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in September. SCO members work together to develop their counter-terrorism capabilities. EPA
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India has invited Pakistan to the closing ceremony of a multinational anti-terrorism drill to be held on Thursday.

New Delhi is hosting the Joint Anti-Terrorist Exercise as part of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, or Rats.

It will take place at the National Security Guard garrison in Manesar in India's northern Haryana state.

Pakistan has been invited for the closing ceremony as a member of the SCO.

The SCO is an intergovernmental body with eight member states. It mainly focuses on regional security issues, terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism.

Headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Rats aims to facilitate co-operation among SCO countries fighting terrorism, extremism and separatism.

New Delhi became the chair of Rats in October last year. It has invited all members to participate in the closing ceremony, which will be attended by high-level visitors, including permanent representatives and delegates from the SCO member countries.

India's elite commando unit, the National Security Guard, said the exercise was to exchange expertise and best practices.

New Delhi also participated in a similar exercise last year in Pakistan — a rare occurrence for the hostile neighbours.

India and Pakistan, both of which possess nuclear weapons, have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Both regard each other with suspicion. Diplomatic and trade relations remain strained, largely over the disputed Kashmir region, that both nations claim in its entirety but rule in parts.

The two countries were on the brink of another war in February 2019 after India launched air strikes inside Pakistan, followed by counterattacks by Pakistani fighter planes and the downing of an Indian jet.

New Delhi argued that the strikes were against militants it claimed were responsible for a deadly bombing in Kashmir.

Updated: October 11, 2022, 10:53 AM