With the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) getting stronger and gaining larger influence in a fractured region with each passing year, it can become a key forum for leading regional economic prosperity in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
This is why the next SCO heads of states meeting will be crucial for coming up with a new regional policy framework.
This was stated by experts during a webinar organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) on the role the SCO can play in conflict management.
A geopolitical analyst from Beijing Zoon Ahmed Khan said that SCO provides equal opportunity to all countries to represent their development agenda for regional cooperation as envisioned in the organisation’s charter and mandate.
Though each country has the right to present their case, no one can play a hegemonic role. The respective committees sit together and discuss issues to resolve them, she said.
SCO’s main goals are to strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness amongst the member states, she explained.
Forthcoming meetings of the SCO heads of state, Zoon said, are important in the context of rising economic conflict between China and the US.
Senior journalist and political analyst from Washington Anwar Iqbal said that the SCO is getting stronger and meaningful. However, the question remains whether it will be able to combat the new emerging bloc in the region where India will be a proxy for the US-Israel alliance against China.
India will be taking on China in the SCO and will not succeed, he said, adding that it will be a similar result on the subject of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
“SCO won’t be able to sort out the Kashmir solution in the near future, nor can it even compel India to soften the siege of the territory,” he said.
Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed said with due to the hegemonic efforts from India, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has been dead for a while now. But there is a need for a vigorous and vibrant regional cooperation organization with a comprehensive agenda of regional cooperation and support to all basic sectors.
SCO has the potential to grow like the European Union (EU) with large development funds and a regional currency or any other mechanism of trade.
Eurasian affairs expert Dr Fahim Akhtar said the SCO is pacing up on its agenda with a consistency, building up trust amongst member states, and finalising policy frameworks for the future discourse and action.
Published in The Express Tribune, Septe0mber 21st, 2020.
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