Beijing: With Shanghai Cooperation Organisation set to admit India and Pakistan amid growing rancour over their NSG membership bid, a Chinese state-run daily Friday expressed concern that the hostility between them may have a "negative effect" on the security grouping.
"Observers are concerned about SCO expansion, especially the admission of India and Pakistan," an article in the state- run Global Times said ahead of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the Uzbek capital Tashkent on June 23-24.
"The two nations, which are hostile over the issues of Kashmir and anti-terrorism, have long been locked into a state of military confrontation, and share conflicting views over the Afghanistan issue and other regional affairs," the article said, for the first time airing concern as the long drawn out process of India-Pakistan SCO admission is nearing completion.
The SCO summit is taking place just around the same time as the 48-member NSG plenary which is set to meet in Seoul to discuss the entry of India and Pakistan.
China has been vocal in opposing India's Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership on the grounds that it has not signed nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and wants consensus for admission of new members.
The article said that the Indo-Pak differences are not going to die down soon.
"The hostility between the two states is unlikely to be dispelled in the short time. Together with their complicated relations with China and Russia, analysts believe their admission may have negative effects on the SCO, bringing more internal conflicts and lowering the level of mutual political trust and the efficiency of multilateral cooperation," it said.
But at the same time there is also optimism that the entry of India and Pakistan into the grouping will have sobering effect on the two. "Besides adding?1.5 billion people under the SCO umbrella, the India-Pakistan admission may also help improve strained ties between India and Pakistan by opening another communication channel," Xia Yishan, a research fellow of Central Asian studies at the China Institute of International Studies,?said.
"Under the SCO framework, heads of states and their security and law enforcement departments will regularly meet. This will to some extent help the two countries engage in conciliatory dialogue," Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the daily.
Chinese Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Li Huilai, during a special media briefing earlier this week on President Xi Jinping's three-nation tour had said the inclusion of India and Pakistan into SCO is a sign that the organisation has matured.
Regarded as a Central Asian security group dominated by China, the SCO which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai comprises of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as full members. Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.