06:56 GMT +320 June 2019
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    A Pakistan army soldier stands guard at hilltop post at a forward area on the Line of Control (LOC), that divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India. (File)

    Beyond Rhetoric, SCO Membership of India, Pakistan May Resolve Border Disputes

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    With India and Pakistan set to be admitted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Thursday, there are concerns that the two neighbors' squabbles would affect the block's unanimity.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — There are stubborn disputes between India and Pakistan that have escalated to a new high in recent times. Other than territorial disputes, the two countries have been at loggerheads over terrorism in the region.

    On the other side, experts said that if India and Pakistan join the same forum, it may help increase transparency between the two and help in confidence building.

    "In the long run, the SCO may provide an opportunity to resolve outstanding issues between India and Pakistan on one hand, and India and China on the other. Ultimately the borders need to be settled bilaterally, but SCO will certainly ameliorate the environment to a certain extent, as there would be frequent meetings between the heads of states," Professor B R Deepak of the Center of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, told Sputnik.

    It is worth mentioning here that the Shanghai five was created by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 1996 to deepen military trust in border regions. These countries came together at one platform to resolve border disputes, and downsize military forces along the borders.

    "The resolution of the border disputes has undoubtedly resulted in greater connectivity and economic cooperation between the member states," Deepak added.

    There are severe apprehensions over Pakistan's role in SCO which many claimed that Islamabad may attempt to internationalize the Kashmir issue through it.

    A few days back, Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that disagreements always have been and still are part of the fabric of our world.

    "We conducted border talks with China for 40 years but owing to the atmosphere that was created in our bilateral relations, we managed to find a compromise. Of course, one could say that we gave in on something or China gave in on something, but we got it done and it created more opportunities for advancing relations," Putin said.

    It is too early to say whether SCO will become another platform for the India-Pakistan rivalry. "I believe good sense will prevail and the platform will not be used for settling scores on certain issues, especially when the SCO has no such mandate to do so," B R Deepak said.

    As of now, the SCO was limited to China, Russia and Central Asia, the inclusion of India and Pakistan will extend the reach of multilateralism to South Asia, thus expanding its diplomatic, economic, cultural, and security boundaries.

    India's Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday once again reiterated that there is no scheduled meet between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO summit; however, Modi could meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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    Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Kashmir, Jammu, Pakistan, India
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