Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting with delegates of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation security secretary summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Addressing top security officials of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member countries in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said India and Pakistan’s entry in the bloc has enhanced the potential for cooperation in fighting terrorism and raised expectations from the international community.

The entry of India and Pakistan into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has enhanced the potential for cooperation and raised expectations from the international community, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in the run-up to the bloc’s summit next month.

Maintaining regional security and stability has been the top priority of the eight-member bloc, Xi said, adding that member countries had expanded areas of cooperation over the years.

“SCO members have fought the three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism and made important contributions to regional peacekeeping, development and prosperity,” Xi was quoted as saying by the state-controlled China Daily newspaper.

“Numerous challenges remain, including the three evil forces, plus drug smuggling and cross-border organised crime, each of which threatens the region,” Xi added.

The Chinese President was addressing representatives to the 13th meeting of security council secretaries of the bloc at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Xi’s statement came ahead of the bloc’s summit where India and Pakistan will join as full members for the first time amid worries that the two countries could bring their bilateral differences — over Kashmir and terrorism — to the table.

India and China too have major differences over the Belt and Road Initiative, which is supported by all remaining members.

The SCO summit will be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao on June 9 and June 10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to take part in the summit.

The SCO, in which China plays an influential role, comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

The meeting of top security officials from SCO countries was attended by India’s deputy national security advisor (NSA) Rajinder Khanna, Pakistan’s NSA Nasser Khan Janjua and other officials from member countries.

China’s minister of public security Zhao Kezhi, who presided over the meeting, told reporters that the representatives have reached important consensus.

Zhao said, during the meeting with Khanna, China would work with India to strengthen high-level mutual visits, improve cooperation mechanisms, enhance cooperation on anti-terrorism, and promote healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.

“For his part, Khanna said India stands ready to work with China to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and enhance cooperation on law enforcement and security,” official news agency Xinhua said in a report.

“China stands ready to maintain close coordination with Pakistan under the SCO framework, and enhance bilateral cooperation on fighting transnational crime, anti-terrorism and security issues along the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC),” Zhao said during his interaction with Pakistan’s NSA Janjua.

“China would consolidate all-weather friendship and deepen strategic cooperation with Pakistan,” Zhao noted.

New Delhi has repeatedly voiced its concerns over CPEC as it goes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir and violates India’s sovereignty.