The Russian city of Ufa, the capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, was in the limelight for obvious reasons since the city was hosting two grand summits, one was
15th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) while the second was the 7th BRICS( summit of the head of states or government of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Several significant events, during the summit of SCO and BRICS, are expected to cause far-reaching implications for regional and international security and political dynamics in the next coming days. First and foremost is the admission of Pakistan and India as full members to SCO, a much-awaited decision taken by the forum.
While giving his opening speech at the SCO Summit, Russian President Mr.Vladimir Putin
formally announced the induction of Pakistan and India within the forum. After a long time,
the expansion has been announced by the SCO that group’s China, Russia, and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, while Iran, Afghanistan, and Mongolia are having observer status.
Belarus was also elevated to the status of the observer from dialogue partners, and Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, and Nepal were accepted as dialogue partners. Pakistan sought full membership in 2006 while in 2014 by India. Pakistan and India’s admission will play an important role in SCO’s development and the forum will help iron out the differences between India and Pakistan under the SCO framework.
Moreover, other than mending fences between traditional rivals, the SCO expansion also bodes well for countering terrorism and extremism in the region, a key task for the SCO since its establishment. Since the formation of the forum, SCO remained a constructive power and contributed to regional peace and development efforts through several
projects and initiatives including the recent approval of SCO Development Strategy until
2025 hence setting targets and tasks for the next decade.
The regional countries are eager to join the SCO which reflects the fact that the “Shanghai Spirit” of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development is widely recognized by the international community. SCO has made significant efforts in developing strategies for eradicating ever-rising terrorism threats in the region.
Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO RATS) is one such structure that will get a boost in its anti-terrorism network by the presence of Pakistan and India as both face challenges of terrorism, separatism, and extremism. As India is the world’s ninth-largest economy and Pakistan has the strategic location of being located at the crossroad of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and a new project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, both states are all set to provide further booster to “emerging regional security and economic bloc”.
The expanded SCO will provide support to ensure a positive, constructive, stabilizing, and
economic and security cooperative role in the Eurasian region. On the other hand, 7th Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) the summit of the head of states also took place at the same city, which also remained under the limelight.
The main thrust of the Summit was to strengthen the grouping through enhanced connectivity, economic development, and support in order to support international
peace and security and humanitarian assistance. The grouping, a brainchild of Goldman Sachs’ chief economist Jim O’Neill, collectively accounts for nearly half the human race and the economies in accumulation overtake the entire G-7 before 2050.
The growing regionalism and the emergence of powerhouses have resulted in further strengthening the stability, peace, and prosperity of the regions, which bodes well for
the entire world. There was another significant meeting that took the place that overshadowed the other “meetings on the sidelines” during the Summit.
The much-talked-about dialogue between prime ministers of India and Pakistan, after a major lapse of several months of derogatory statements and disengagement from the Indian side. Both sides agreed on several important steps to be taken and resolve all the outstanding disputes.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also invited Mr.Narendra Modi to participate in the upcoming South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in 2016, which he accepted. This was the first meeting between the two leaders since Nawaz attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in May 2014. The peace process between the two was on a halt since the two nuclear power neighbors have suspended their meetings since January 2013 due to tensions at LoC. Also, the recent hostile statements from both sides also made the relationship further vitiated.
Pakistani the military also began expressing concerns over the involvement of India in “subversive activities in Pakistan” However, the call from Mr.Modi for the greeting of Ramzan was fresh air. The meeting, although well received by the international community but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is facing the wrath of Kashmiri leadership for ignoring Kashmir and recently Hurriyat Leader refused the invitation by the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi for Eid Milan.
To have final and a lasting solution to Kashmir Conflict, India and Pakistan must recognize the significance of the issue and resolve all the outstanding disputes including Kashmir. Any agreement between the two forgetting Kashmir dispute and wishes and aspiration of the region won’t help the regional peace and stability.