India irked at Regional Intelligence Chiefs meeting in Islamabad minus Delhi

India irked at Regional Intelligence Chiefs meeting in Islamabad minus Delhi

ISLAMABAD - Intelligence chiefs of Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan gathered in Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss measures against the threat of aggregation of the Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, Russian news agency TASS has reported.

The official confirmation of the meeting came from Sergei Ivanov, chief of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s press bureau. The Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, represented Russia.

“The discussions focused on the dangers arising from a build-up of the Islamic State on the Afghan territory,” Ivanov said. ADVERTISEMENT

“The conference reached understanding of the importance of coordinated steps to prevent the trickling of IS terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan from where they would pose risks for neighboring countries,” he said.

Sources in Delhi told The Indian Express that India has bilateral engagements with all the relevant agencies in Russia, China and Iran, especially on intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism.

While New Delhi and Islamabad have not had bilateral engagement with each other on counter-terrorism cooperation, sources said they have cooperated under the rubric of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the past six months.

In January-February this year, New Delhi hosted a SCO meeting of counter-terrorism specialists, and Islamabad sent a top four-member team of counter-terrorism and intelligence specialists to attend the meeting.

Interestingly, all four countries which met in Islamabad on Tuesday are members of SCO, but sources said the meeting was not under the rubric of SCO. ADVERTISEMENT

Counter-terrorism meetings under SCO are organised under the aegis of Regional Anti-terrorism Structure (RATS), which is based in Tashkent in Uzbekistan.