MOSCOW: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the SCO would provide Pakistan and India a platform to work together and increase mutual trust.
“I am optimistic about the fact that SCO membership will play a role of a catalyst that will help improve our bilateral relationship with India based on the principles of cooperation and will bring [the countries] mutual benefit,” Sharif told RIA Novosti in an interview.
On July 8-10, Russian city of Ufa will host the SCO and the BRICS group summits, where, according to sources in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi is likely to hold a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart.
Mongolia, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have observer status in the organization. In September 2014, Pakistan and India formally applied to join the alliance.
Nawaz Sharif said that media speculations regarding possible threats of Pakistan’s nuclear program materials leaking into the hands of terrorist groups are absurd and malicious.
“Such claims are absolutely groundless, absurd and malicious. Pakistan is a nuclear-armed power, which is responsible for their actions. We have 40 years of experience in the field of safe and secure nuclear energy,” Sharif said in an interview to Russian news agency, RIA Novosti.
The PM stressed that Islamabad is “firmly committed to the principles of non-proliferation and export control, compliance with the measures of protection and security.”
“In regard to the export control policy, Pakistan fully complies with international principles and is regularly checked. The measures taken by Pakistan are fully endorsed by the international community, including the International Atomic Energy Agency,” the prime minister added.
Nawaz Sharif will visit Russia on July 9 (Thursday) to attend meetings of SCO and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), providing him an opportunity to interact with regional leaders.
During the two-day visit to the Russian city Ufa, the Prime Minister will lead the Pakistani delegation at the SCO’s Meeting of the Heads of States Council – the highest decision-making body.
The meeting will consider applications for full membership to the grouping.
Pakistan has been making substantive contribution to regional peace, security and development in its capacity as an Observer State of the SCO, a Foreign Office statement said on Monday.