World / SCO Summit

Pakistan, India joining group seen as 'milestone'

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-11 07:45

Pakistan's and India's expected memberships in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will see the body represent "nearly half of the world's population", Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khalid told China Daily.

India and Pakistan are on their way toward becoming new members of the six-nation, trans-Eurasia SCO.

The SCO - with its focus on regional stability and jointly combating terrorism - currently includes China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Khalid believes that the ongoing SCO summit in Ufa, Russia, which is discussing entry into the organization, "represents an important milestone in the history of the SCO".

The ambassador said Pakistan hopes to optimize deep-rooted historical and cultural links and strong economic ties with other member states.

Pakistan seeks "meaningful and real-time coordination" in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and border security, as threats and challenges posed in these areas are common, he said.

Khalid voiced optimism about the potential changes in technical issues, as he said such changes are the "natural evolution of an international organization".

"For now, we are striving to improve our knowledge of Russian and Chinese languages to navigate through the SCO. Since the spirit of SCO is friendly, I am sure all teething problems will be settled in a cordial manner," he said.

Some diplomats and analysts voiced optimism, saying they believe the SCO will help ease potential disagreements between Pakistan and India after they are admitted, while others saw possible obstacles ahead.

In response, the ambassador said: "I will side with those who are optimistic. Pakistan and India are both members of a number of multilateral organizations, and the SCO is not unique in that respect."


The inclusion of South Asia "unlocks vast potential" for the SCO's work in the areas of security, environment, trade and economic development, he said.

He said that Pakistan, located at the confluence of South Asia and Central Asia, is "well-positioned to promote such a prolific role for the SCO in the future".

With its membership now intersecting South and Central Asia, the SCO in the future can also "provide a vital platform" for implementing transregional economic connectivity projects, the ambassador said.

The diplomat said the SCO member states should work to facilitate and implement the Belt and Road Initiative, a transcontinental program proposed by China that will boost connectivity and trade.

"This visionary project can significantly improve the economic and social landscape of our region," he said.

Some observers have said the expansion of the membership may lead to changes in the structure, staffing and languages used within the SCO.

Pakistan, India joining group seen as 'milestone'


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