The recently concluded successful 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) in East China’s Shandong province will put far-reaching impacts on regional and global politics. During the summit, leaders of SCO nations discussed regional and international hotspot issues as reflected in much awaited “Qingdao Declaration” and succeeded to evolve consensus for promotion of regional peace, stability and development.

Leaders of the SCO member states signed or witnessed the signing of 23 cooperation documents covering politics, security, economics and culture.

The leadership of SCO member countries vowed to strengthen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, separatism, extremism and cross-border crimes.

The United States’ “self-centered, shortsighted and closed-door policies” were rejected and criticized. These policies are not only creating uncertainty but also producing troubles for the smooth functioning of global economy.

In his coveted speech in the summit, President Xi Jinping rejected these unfair policies and talked against rising unilateralism and protectionism at global level.

The promotion of unilateralism and protectionism for the sake of one country’s vested interests are detrimental to the entire international system as these policies are putting global economy again in danger. These policies have formed unfair global system, produced instability and contributed negatively for the world.

President Xi Jinping’s announcement of a 30-billion-yuan special lending facility within the framework of the SCO Inter-bank Consortium is a crucial step for enhancing trade among SCO members, economic development, promotion of multilateralism and cooperation at regional and global level to form a fair, just and equitable international system. This step will also be helpful in curbing unilateralism and protectionism at global level.

In today’s world of globalization, unilateralism based on one country-centered policy cannot work because the interests of the countries are now interconnected and correlated.

The summit will also affect China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative in a positive manner. If SCO member states remained successful in implementation of the decisions and agreements in full letter and spirit then security environment in the region will be improved.

The Belt and Road Initiative, contrary to unilateralism has received great support across the globe because it is based on the golden principle of win-win cooperation, mutual benefit and common development.

Pakistan and India for the first time attended the SCO summit as full members and it is being termed as a major development in the history of the organization.

With the inclusion of Pakistan and India, the eight-member group now accounts for more than 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass and nearly half of the world’s population and over 20 per cent of global GDP.

This has produced SCO’s vast international influence and it has increased the expectations of the international community and people of the region from this platform.

Participation of both rival countries Pakistan and India in SCO remained in heated debate among the experts during the summit. The questions like whether both countries will be baggage for SCO due to their outstanding issues or they will give more strength to this organization remained under discussion.

Experts in China, Pakistan and India believe that SCO has created new opportunities for India and Pakistan to improve their bilateral relationship. Participation of Pakistan and India for the first time in “Peace Mission”, the military exercise in Russia under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is also being considered as an unusual and important development. Two big players in the organization, China and Russia may push forward Pakistan and India to improve their bilateral relations by resolving outstanding issue amicably. It is the high time for the Pakistan and India to adopt saner approach and move forward to resolve all outstanding issues including core issue of Kashmir and utilize their potential to defeat abject poverty, security related and other challenges.

Pakistan wants good relations with all countries including its neighbors and it always welcomes ‘tangible and result oriented and concrete efforts’ to resolve all outstanding issues peacefully. If India has shown seriousness, then both countries can move forward towards resolution of their outstanding problems and can contribute to the regional peace and development.

South Asia is facing instability due to unresolved historical problems including Kashmir Issue between India and Pakistan and continuous unrest in Afghanistan.

In the prevailing scenario, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has become a new hope for regional peace, stability and development.

SCO has already contributed a lot for the peace and stability of the Central Asian region. This successful experience of SCO can be applied to bring peace and stability in the South Asia. The creation of Afghanistan Contact Group under SCO to resolve lingering Afghan issue is a step in right direction.

Years long ongoing military operation in Afghanistan has failed to bring peace and stability in this war ravaged country. The resolution of Afghanistan problem is imperative for the peace and stability in the region. All SCO member countries should help Afghanistan in bringing peace and stability.

Stability in Afghanistan is in the greater interest of the entire region including Pakistan. Instability in Afghanistan has also badly affected Pakistan. The stability in South Asia also is imperative for the smooth implementation of Belt and Road Initiative projects. China by adding South Asia in its proposed Belt and Road Initiative has created massive opportunities of trade and economic development for these countries.

It is responsibility of South Asian countries to work collectively for the peace and stability in the region and support China’s policies under Belt and Road Initiative for the common development, peace and prosperity.

Participation of the Pakistan in SCO is very important for it. As far as regional and internal security is concerned, Pakistan has already fought a long war against terrorism as a front-line state. Pakistan has sacrificed a lot in this war. More than 70 thousand civilians, law enforcement agencies officers and men have sacrificed their lives for elimination of menace of terrorism. According to some estimates, it suffered around $123.1 billion on account of loss of lives, economic opportunities and damage to the country’s infrastructure.

Pakistan has taken military action indiscriminately and achieved a great success in dismantling and cleaning terrorists’ hideouts. This achievement shows Pakistan’s resolve and contribution to the internal and regional peace and stability.

Now Pakistan will be able to consolidate these gains with SCO’s support and experience and it will also be able to share its experience with the organization. SCO membership will add more opportunities for Pakistan to further strengthen its political and trade relationship with Central Asian states.

Pakistan being an active member of Belt and Road Initiative will further strengthen its economy and law and order situation. Pakistan will play its active role to work closely with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to promote regional peace and development.

Let’s hope that SCO will become stronger in future and will play its due role in resolving regional and international problems and contribute well to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region.

 

The writer is a researcher and journalist working for Independent News Pakistan.