China on Thursday (June 15) dismissed apprehensions that the tensions between India and Pakistan could disrupt the unity of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, reported PTI. China said that the SCO charter prohibits member countries from bringing their bilateral hostilities into the organisation.
“As a founding member of the SCO, we are very happy about the membership of India and Pakistan,” China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou also said at the SCO headquarters in Beijing, where flags of India and Pakistan were hoisted on Thursday, marking their accession to the group. Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale and his Pakistan counterpart Masood Khalid jointly beat a huge SCO cooperation drum heralding the admission of the two countries to the group.
At the flag raising ceremony, Gokhale called for enhanced connectivity and unimpeded trade among SCO member states, with due respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This was perhaps a reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which India alleges runs through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. He said India would also like to deepen practical cooperation in its fight against terrorism and extremism.
Gokhale said that India was ready to share its expertise with SCO members in areas like information technology, space, renewable energy, agriculture, banking and human resource development. “With India’s joining, SCO now represents 20% of the world’s GDP, 22% of the area and 42% of the world’s population. Stability and progress of the SCO will be beneficial to the region and the world at large. India stands ready to contribute to further enhancing the stature and influence of the SCO,” he added. Gokhale also offered India’s full support to China for a “successful and productive presidency of the SCO”.