ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India will become member of prestigious Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in last week of this month at the outset of its 16th summit where 10 heads of states are likely to turn up for attending it. It will be held in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent.
Diplomatic observers term the SCO as the ‘Nato’ of the East. China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan are the founder member of the organization that came into being as SCO15 years ago in Chinese commercial city Shanghai. Uzbekistan became its member as the result of first expansion since then no other country has been enrolled in it as full member.
The membership of Pakistan and India was approved in July last year and it would be granted in Tashkent summit. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has designated President Mamnoon Hussain to represent the country in the significant summit being held on 23rd of this month and that would continue for two days.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will accompany the President in the sojourn. India earlier indicated that it would be represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi but New Delhi is changing its mind. Highly placed diplomatic sources told The News here Sunday that the President will ink the historic document pertaining to Pakistan’s membership of the organization. India will announce leader of its delegation this week.
The SCO foreign ministers will put up for consideration by the leaders of the member-states an issue of signing a memorandum on granting membership to Pakistan and India. The SCO Council of Foreign Ministers has also approved the proposal about new entrants. The respective protocols were signed in Tashkent after consultations with the representatives of Pakistan and India last month.
A decision was made to submit for consideration of heads of SCO member-states an issue on signing at the upcoming summit in Tashkent a memorandum on commitments of Pakistan and India with the goal of acquisition by them a status of SCO member-states. The SCO summit will be held in Tashkent on June 23-24.
The Foreign Ministers of the organisation discussed the issues of increasing the role of the organization in international affairs and confirmed a joint stance ruling out a confrontational approach in solving global problems last month. The foreign ministers had agreed to sign a memorandum on granting a status of the SCO dialogue partner to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal.
The summit will also take up the tasks of cooperation in the SCO for carrying out efforts on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism jointly and also countering illegal drug trafficking on priority basis. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a permanent regional international association.
The sources pointed out that Iran, Belarus, Mongolia and Afghanistan are the observer states of the SCO while Untied States, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey are the dialogue partner of the SCO. It would be pertinent to mention that the Shanghai Five grouping was created 26 April 1996 with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions in Shanghai by the heads of states of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Subsequent annual summits of the Shanghai Five group occurred in Almaty (Kazakhstan) in 1998, in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) in 1999, and in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) in 2000. At the Dushanbe summit, members agreed to “oppose intervention in other countries’ internal affairs on the pretexts of ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘protecting human rights;’ and support the efforts of one another in safeguarding the five countries’ national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and social stability.”
In 2001, the annual summit returned to Shanghai. Russia and the PRC, the organisation’s two leading nations, signed the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation in July 2001. In June 2002, the heads of the SCO member states met in Saint Petersburg, Russia. There they signed the SCO Charter which expounded on the organization’s purposes, principles, structures and form of operation, and established it in international law.
Its six full members account for 60% of the land mass of Eurasia and its population is a quarter of the world. With observer states included, its affiliates account for about half of the world’s population.
In July 2005, at its fifth and watershed summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, with representatives of Pakistan, Mongolia, India and Iran attending an SCO summit for the first time, the president of the host country, Nursultan Nazarbayev, greeted the guests in words that had never before been used in any context: “The leaders of the states sitting at this negotiation table are representatives of half of humanity”.
By 2007 the SCO had initiated over twenty large-scale projects related to transportation, energy and telecommunications and held regular meetings of security, military, defence, foreign affairs, economic, cultural, banking and other officials from its member states. The SCO has established relations with the United Nations, where it is an observer in the General Assembly, the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).