ISLAMABAD: The Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad organized an International Conference “Shanghai Cooperation Organization; Future Prospects and Regional Connectivity” on 12th March 2019, at Margala Hotel, Islamabad. The Conference had the participation of the SCO Member and Observer States.
The Conference commenced with the opening remarks by Major General Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery HI(M), (Retd) – President CGSS. He stated that SCO is a powerful platform for partnerships to promote peace, to build mutual trust, and spur economic development for shared prosperity with the confidence that we would be able to change the world for the better.
The Chief Guest Tehmina Janjua- Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented her views on “Role of Pakistan in Regional Peace and Prosperity”. She stated that the region is transforming from unipolar to a multipolar world. Russia and China are the significant players of the region. The demand and growth ration is very important for interstate relations. Pakistan is playing an important role in eliminating the menace of terrorism from the region. She vowed to cooperate and enhance the relations with the P5 countries. Talking about Indo-Pak relations, she stated that the upcoming elections in India cannot determinate the future of this region. Talking about the Eastern borders, she stated that we are currently facing the issue of drug trafficking and radicalization, but we have struggled hard to eliminates these factors successfully and have transformed Pakistan into a peaceful country and tourist destination. Furthermore, Pakistan has taken several peace inactivates and has taken US, China and Russia on board and has forced the international powers to initiate peace dialogues.
Professor Sun Zhuangzhi – Director of the Institute of Russian, Eastern European, Central Asia Studies and Secretary General of Center for Shanghai Cooperation Organization Study, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China addressed the participants of the Conference on “The Strategic Positioning and Development Direction of the Expanded SCO”. He stated that it is necessary to position the SCO as a new type of regional cooperation organization at the international level. The expanded SCO should not change its current way and focus of work. The characteristic of SCO is to establish a new concept of cooperation and adhere to equality and mutual benefit and opening to the outside world.
The speaker from Russia, Dr. Leonid Gusev – Expert, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow, Russia presented speech on “The fight against terrorist organizations in the countries of Central Asia, members of SCO. Connections with terrorist organizations in the Middle East”. He stated that since the very beginning of independence, the Central Asian republics have faced such a problem as ensuring regional and ethno-confessional security and the geopolitical situation in Central Asia is influenced by the political instability and conflict zones which can be resolved from the platform of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Representing Pakistan, Ambassador Syed Hasan Javed – Director, Chinese Studies Centre, School Of Social Sciences and Humanities (S3H), National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad presented a speech on “SCO’s Future Discourse and Opportunities for the Region”. He stated that SCO is the romance of three civilizations and I recommend that there should be an advisory board comprising of members who have knowledge of three regional language i.e. English, Russian and Chinese. He further added that there is need to establish SCO centric Think Tank, civil society and bank. We must sign trade agreements to remove trade barriers and ease in the visa regimes.
From Uzbekistan, Bakhtiyor Mustafayev – Head of The Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies (ISRS) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan presented a speech on “Multilateral Security cooperation to address the security issues in the region”. He stated that positive experience has been achieved in jointly solving the intra-regional security problems in various fields. Uzbekistan with Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic signed the plan of complex measures for 2018 – 2019 on the issues. It is important to determine the main areas of cooperation with regional and international organizations in the field of regional security. The role of the United Nation is also taken into account that it acts as an important platform for the implementation of the initiatives and the proposals of the countries in addressing topical issues of regional security.
Representing Kazakhstan, Barlybay Sadykov – Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Pakistan presented speech on “Prospects of intra-regional trade in the SCO region”. He stated that SCO is emerging as one of the significant multilateral platforms in the region as it vows to fight the real-time challenges being faced by the member states.
From Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Seitzhan Apyshev, Adviser to Director, National Institute for Strategic Studies of the Kyrgyz Republic (NISS KR), Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic presented speech on “Multilateral Cooperation in Cultural Exchange”. He stated that cooperation in the field of culture is one of the most important activates of SCO as it helps to strengthen long-term good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between our traditionally close friends not only geographically, but also in spirit of peoples and countries. The fundamental basis for preservation and coexistence of different national cultures is the development of international cultural exchanges.
Mr. Zahoor Ahmed, Additional Secretary, National Coordinator of Pakistan for SCO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad presented speech on “Pakistan’s Contribution in SCO”. He stated that in this ever-changing world, achieving peace, stability and prosperity is the main predicament which is solved by SCO. SCO emerged as a natural platform and representative of 3.2 billion people. SCO forms a universal model and is not developed against any other country. Pakistan applied for SCO membership and achieved a full member status in 2017. Pakistan have also been part of Sochi, Russia and Dushanbe dialogues. Prime Minister Imran Khan is using Pakistan’s foreign policy to develop ideal bilateral relations with all states. SCO have a greater potential to forge strong ties between regional states and Pakistan can contribute to the SCO forum by sharing its experiences of fight against terrorism and being a significant part of the US peacekeeping missions.
From Belarus, Prof. Elena Dostanko – Head, Academic Affairs Unit, Belarusian State University, Minsk, Belarus presented her views on “The Prospects of European Dimension of the SCO in XXI Century”. She stated that SCO is an organization which is aimed to achieve closer cooperation in the region. Mega projects like CPEC, BRI and Eurasian economic region have huge potential for the economic stability of the region. This sectoral cooperation boosts the relations among regional states.
Representing Iran, Mr. Seyed Majid Ghafelehbashi – Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and International Studies (IPIS), Tehran, Iran presented a speech on “Iran’s Contribution in Shanghai Cooperation Organization”. He stated that like SCO, Iranian foreign policy is also focused at multilateralism and have an advancing neighbourhood policy. Similar to SCO, Iranian foreign policy also aims to maintain the sovereignty of states and to eradicate extremism. CPEC is also deemed important by Iran and we hope that these mega projects will result in forging cordial relations between nations.
The last speech of the Conference was by Lieutenant General Naeem Khalid Lodhi HI(M), (Retd) – Former Federal Minister of Defence on “Pakistan’s Role in Regional Peace and Stability”. He stated that there is need of geostrategy for the flow of resources across the region. He stated that through the platform of SCO we must promote the positive and stronger image of Pakistan to defend ourselves. Although SCO is active is eradicating terrorism but it should also provide shelter to the refugees. He recommended that SCO can play a vital role in US-Taliban dialogue process and can also play its role in resolving India-Pakistan tensions.