Islamabad - The much-awaited expansion of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) would provide great opportunities to Pakistan to play its pivotal role for promoting regional peace and stability in the vast Eurasian region. The SCO countries should undertake collaborative efforts in enchaining people to people relationship especially in higher education sector.

It was resolved by the participants of a roundtable dialogue on ‘The Expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO): Challenges and Options for Pakistan’ jointly organised by Institute of Peace & Diplomatic Studies (IPD) and Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts(IUCPSS) at National Library Islamabad. The dialogue was aimed at generating views and standpoints about the possible expansion of the SCO, challenges and opportunities for the new member countries. The event was attended by ambassadors and diplomats from SCO member and observer countries, vice chancellors, academicians and members of civil society.

Speaking on the occasion, Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Yurievich Dedov said that Russia always supported Pakistan‘s permanent membership to SCO.

He underlined the importance of collaborative efforts and formal approach in order to address the economic and security issues being confronted by the SCO member countries. He said that Russia would continue to play its role for regional prosperity and peace.

He outlined various projects that Russia would execute during its presidency of SCO in the year 2015.

Ambassador of Tajikistan Sherali Jononov briefed the audience about outcomes of the last annual summit of SCO held in Dushanbe in September 2014. While briefing, Sherali said that Tajikistan fully supported for Pakistan in having a full membership status to Pakistan. This would give huge opportunities to Pakistan to explore the possibilities of cooperation with the member countries at much higher level.

Vice Chancellor Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Dr Sohail H Naqvi announced international scholarship scheme for the talented students from Central Asia. He said each year 15 scholarship would be awarded to the talented students of Central Asia at under-graduate and MBA programmes. He hoped that the scholarship scheme would be greatly helpful in strengthening bilateral relationship of Pakistan with Central Asian states and bringing the youth closer to one another.

Dr Nasser Ali Khan, vice chancellor University of Haripur and chairman IUCPSS, underlined the importance of close linkages in higher education sector among SCO countries.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Institute of Peace & Diplomatic Studies and 16 universities for undertaking joint research publications, seminars, conferences, other academic activities in the areas of the common interest and facilitating in exchange of students, experts and researchers from various regions of the world.