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SCO: the promise of prosperity

28 1 15

The 18th SCO Summit, which was held in the coastal city of Qingdao in China, ended on a promising note. All member states – including Pakistan and India, who are now full members of the organisation – unanimously reiterated their commitment to uphold the SCO’s spirit and re-endorsed the fulfillment of the organisation’s stated objectives.

The communiqué issued at the end of the summit stated that SCO members have consistently given priority to mediating regional conflicts under the norms and principles of international law. As per the document, member states also emphasised the need to continue the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. It also approved the 2019-2021 programme of cooperation for combating terrorism, separatism and extremism with a view to further promote pragmatic cooperation among member states in that respect.

Member countries also highlighted the significance of improving the global economic governance system; consolidating and developing the multilateral trade mechanism, with the World Trade Organization at its core; and building an open world economy. According to the press communiqué, SCO members also emphasised that the organisation had seen “continuously expanding potential for cooperation after the accession of India and Pakistan and had become a unique, influential and authoritative regional organisation”.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that: “all parties will continue to work in line with the principles of mutual benefit to improve regional economic cooperation arrangement, enhance the Belt and Road Cooperation and complementarity of our respective development strategies, deepen cooperation in business, investment, finance, connectivity and agriculture, advance trade and investment facilitation and foster new prospects for integrated development of the region to deliver benefits to our people and add fresh impetus to global growth”. It was surely an exhaustive resume on what the SCO stood for and cherished.

Pakistan, represented by President Mamnoon Hussain, expressed un-qualified support for the SCO’s connectivity initiatives and its objectives. When Rashid Alimov, the secretary-general of the SCO, visited Pakistan in March, the then PM offered to connect CPEC with the SCO’s six approved routes, observing that it would greatly enhance their significance to become a conduit to link China, Russia, Central Asia and the Eurasian landmass with the Arabian Sea.

Pakistan was formally admitted as a full member of the SCO, along with India, at the 17th SCO summit in Astana on June 9, 2017. It was indeed a momentous day for Pakistan, which had been vying to become a member of this regional organisation for quite some time. The organisation’s goals resonated with our national ethos and quest for a peaceful neighbourhood. With regard to the regional situation and the emerging security scenario, I have been repeatedly emphasised the fact that Pakistan’s security and economic prosperity are inextricably linked to the region it belongs to.

The decision to include Pakistan as a full member of the SCO has added vitality to the organisation as the country has tremendous potential for global and regional trade as well as economic activities. With a consumer market of 200 million people, vast business potential and a rapidly developing infrastructure, Pakistan offers the SCO enormous opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and to fulfil the vision of the organisation. The CPEC, which is a pivot of the OBOR, also compliments the SCO’s vision of connectivity and economic integration.

The organisation was launched on June 15, 2001 and comprised Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It succeeded the Shanghai........

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