Editor's Note

The Diplomatic Insight - - Contents -

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 grands 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 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 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 groups 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 ob­server from di­a­logue part­ner, 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 the 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 in 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 the “Shang­hai Spirit” of mu­tual trust, mu­tual cul­tural di­ver­sity and pur­suit of com­mon de­vel­op­ment is widely rec­og­nized by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. SCO has made 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 pres­ence of Pak­istan and In­dia as both face chal­lenges of ter­ror­ism, sep­a­ratism and ex­trem­ism. As In­dia is world’s ninth largest econ­omy and Pak­istan hav­ing the strate­gic lo­ca­tion of be­ing lo­cated at the cross­road of Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road and new pro­ject of 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 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) sum­mit of the head of states also took place at the same city, which also re­mained un­der the lime light. The main thrust of the Sum­mit was to strengthen the group­ing through en­hanced con­nec­tiv­ity, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and sup­port in or­der to sup­port in the in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity and hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance. The group­ing, a brain child 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 emer­gence of pow­er­houses has re­sulted into fur­ther strength­en­ing the sta­bil­ity, peace and pros­per­ity of the re­gions, which bodes well for the en­tire world. 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 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 up­com­ing South Asian As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion (Saarc) sum­mit in 2016, which he ac­cepted. This was 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 mil­i­tary also be­gan ex­press­ing con­cerns over the in­volve­ment of In­dia in “sub­ver­sive ac­tiv­i­ties in Pak­istan” How­ever, call from Mr.Modi for greet­ing of Ramzan was a fresh air. The meet­ing, although well re­ceived by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity but Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif is fac­ing wrath of Kash­miri lead­er­ship for ig­nor­ing Kash­mir and re­cently Huriyat Leader re­fused the in­vi­ta­tion by the Pak­istani High Com­mis­sion is­sue and re­solve all the out­stand­ing dis­putes in­clud­ing Kash­mir. Any agree­ment be­tween the two for­get­ting Kash­mir dis­pute and wishes and as­pi­ra­tion of the re­gion wont help the re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity.

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