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SCO Defence, Foreign Ministers' meeting begins in Beijing

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BEIJING (PTI): The meetings of the defence and foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), being attended by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, began in Beijing on Tuesday.

The two meetings are being held around the same time.

Sitharaman, who arrived in Beijing on Monday night, attended the defence ministers' meeting and Swaraj took part in the foreign ministers' meeting.

The two meetings are being held as part of the preparations for the SCO summit to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend the summit.

These are the first top ministerial-level meetings of the SCO after the admission of India and Pakistan as members in the group last year.

A host of issues including regional security and terrorism are expected to be discussed at the meetings and prepare agenda for the SCO summit.

The SCO, headquartered in Beijing, was founded in 2001.

Comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan, the SCO aims at military cooperation between the member states and involves intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia and joint work against cyber terrorism.

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