The Astana Summit marked the official entry of both India and Pakistan into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and barring questions of whether the two will be able to cooperate and keep their acrimonious stances in place, Pakistan already looks to be benefitting from its inclusion. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s bilateral meeting with President Putin for instance, and which the Russian leader termed us an important partner, will be useful with the expected icing of ties with the US.

Many fear that India and Pakistan might not be able to work together, and the SCO might face the same problems as SAARC did – with two regional powers not cooperating, there is always a fear that working together might not be achievable. However, the most major difference between SAARC and the SCO is that India is not the biggest power, and one of the major decision makers (China) is also a concern for India and Pakistan’s strongest ally to boot.

The keyword here is ‘cooperation’ – if India and Pakistan want to get the most out of this organisation they best learn to cooperate with one another at the earliest. Empty accusations and threats will not serve either country or the alliance any benefit. With only eight member nations, this is a tightly knit group and the two new members must also set aside their differences to work for mutual benefit. But with India continuing to blame Pakistan for cross-border attacks and riling up the people of Kashmir, it is hard to see this vision turn into something real.

Maybe looking for a smaller start – developing cooperative bonds for economic interest might just spur a more positive era in the Pakistan-India relationship. The most important however, is to stop seeing the SCO through the Pak-India optics that experts on both sides of the border use.