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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Pabbi Anti Terror Exercise 2021

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Pabbi Anti Terror Exercise 2021

Relevance

  • GS 2 || International Relations || International Organizations || SCO

Why in the news?

  • The first-ever anti-terror exercise conducted in Pakistan on 3rd– 6th October under the ambit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) concluded recently with the participation of troops from China and Pakistan sharing their experiences to counter evolving threats.

Purpose of Pabbi-Antiterror

  • The “Pabbi-Antiterror-2021” was first announced in March of this year after the 36th meeting of RATS that took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • To improve cooperation between the competent authorities of the SCO member states.
  • Further, helping them in identifying and suppressing channels that finance terrorist activities.

About RATS

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO)’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure was established by the member states to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism.
  • RATS was established in 2004 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure operates by the SCO Charter, the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism, the Agreement among the SCO member states on the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, as well as documents and decisions adopted in the SCO framework.
  • The Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is the permanent body of the SCO RATS based in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.

Functions

  • Maintaining working relations with competent institutions of the member states and international organizations tackling issues of fighting terrorism, separatism, and extremism;
  • Assistance in interaction among the member states in preparation and staging of counter-terrorism exercises at the request of concerned member states, preparation, and conduct of search operations and other activities in the field of fighting terrorism, separatism, and extremism;
  • Joint drafting of international legal documents concerning the fight against terrorism, separatism, and extremism;
  • Gathering and analysis of information coming to the RATSfrom the member states, formation and filling of RATS data bank;
  • Joint formation of a system of an effective response to global challenges and threats
  • Preparation and holding of scientific conferences and workshops, assistance in sharing experience in the field of fighting terrorism, separatism, and extremism.
  • Between 2011 and 2015, under RATS coordination, the authorities of SCO member States managed to prevent 20 terrorist attacks while still in the planning stages, averted 650 crimes of terrorist and extremist nature, and neutralized 440 terrorist training camps and 1,700 members of international terrorist organizations

Fighting Terrorism

  • SCO-RATS and India 2/3 SCO-RATS is a permanent body of the SCO and is intended to facilitate coordination and interaction between the SCO member states in the fight against terrorism, extremism, and separatism.
  • The main functions of SCO-RATS are coordination and information sharing. As a member, India has actively participated in the activities of SCO-RATS.
  • India’s permanent membership would enable it to generate greater understanding among members for its perspective.

Did India participate in exercise?

  • India did not participate in the exercises but India sent a three-member team to Pakistan for an anti-terror exercise as “OBSERVERS”.No representatives from the Indian armed forces participated in the Pabbi exercise.
  • A three-member team from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) was sent.
  • Since this is the first time the SCO anti-terror exercise is taking place post the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, India is keen on participating in it despite its tensions with Pakistan.

Other Recent Developments

  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has proposed an action plan against Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) NSAs meet.
  • Action Plan proposed
    • Full implementation of UN resolutions and targeted sanctions against UN-designated terrorist individuals and entities.
    • Adoption of international standards to counter terror financing including an MOU between SCO and Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
    • Monitoring new technologies used by terrorists. This included the use of drones and misuse of the dark web, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and social media.

Significance of SCO  for India

  • Historical Significance:India has always been seen as a benign (friendly) territory to countries that formed part of the erstwhile USSR. India since the past has invested in these countries, but due to lack of accessibility, India’s connection to these countries was restricted.
  • Also, these countries have apprehensions regarding the growing dominating role of Russia and China. Hence, in light of these developments, India can play a key role in the region.
  • Diplomatic Ties:SCO provides a platform to exchange ideas with world leaders like Russia. Hence, India looks for positive engagement with the member nations of this organization.
  • Military:SCO’s joint military exercises, Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS is a structural institution that focuses on terrorism- a common threat affecting nations) inter alia, are significant to India. India can rally down the neighboring countries acting as the hub of terrorism at these platforms.
  • The main functions of SCO-RATS are coordination and information sharing. As a member nation, India has actively participated in its activities.
  • Connectivity:Through this forum, India can seek another route to Eurasia and Central Asia via China (through its Xinjiang province).
  • Economic Factor:Through this platform, new markets could be explored by India for selling Indian goods and tapping foreign resources, thereby benefiting the Indian industries (which are already facing the brunt of economic slowdown).

Way Forward

  • SCO provides a very good opportunity for India to connect with the leadership of Central Asian countries and that is a very big takeaway.
  • India has a good record of economic growth and handling problems which are a problem of other countries which lays the foundation for huge foreign investment.
  • Increase cooperation between SCO and other multilateral organizations. Need to increase economic cooperation among SCO member states.
  • Strengthen the fight against terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, and organized crime among others.
  • Increasing awareness of our shared cultures can help boost tourism.

Mains model question

  • Analyze how SCO as a regional organization presents both challenges and opportunities for India. Also, discuss the measures that India must take for strategic balancing concerning SCO?

References