China-Pakistan objective cooperation within SCO framework

Liu Lulu

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif met Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers in Beijing this week. The two countries vowed to enhance bilateral cooperation and work for regional peace and stability through the SCO.
The council is the first top ministerial-level meeting of the SCO after the admission of Pakistan and India as members last year, and Sino-Pakistani collaboration on the SCO platform has attracted attention.
Some believe that Beijing-Islamabad cooperation is a strategic choice in the interests of the two countries. There are also people who hold the view that the Sino-Pakistani partnership may threaten India’s development.
The Sino-Pakistani all-weather strategic cooperative partnership is an example of a new type of international relations. This cooperation has transcended the level of self-interest and is playing a vital role in maintaining regional stability. For instance, China’s Belt and Road initiative, apart from aiding regional connectivity, has boosted Pakistan’s economic growth and provided the country with unprecedented impetus for development. This has created a new pilot model for regional cooperation and will exert tremendously positive effects on South Asia’s societal and economic development. Both Beijing and Islamabad have reiterated that their bilateral cooperation doesn’t target any third party.
But still voices suspicious of China’s rise and its partnership with Pakistan on the SCO platform are often heard. The SCO was established for common development.
We hope New Delhi, as a major power in the region, can realize the significance of cooperation, abandon its stereotyped view of Sino-Pakistani partnership and correctly view the purpose of the Belt and Road initiative.
By doing so, it will open a new chapter in South Asia’s development. After all, the significance of India’s SCO participation lies in its endeavors for common development. But if the Indian government regards the SCO as merely a lever to balance China and Pakistan, it will lose an important platform for cooperation and growth.
Founded 17 years ago, the SCO has achieved much in security through agreements such as the 2001 Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism. The organization’s achievements in establishing economic and trade cooperation zones are prominent as well. The 21 cooperation zones China has built with other SCO states have played a contributing role in expanding local employment and raising tax revenues.
Under the SCO framework, Beijing and Islamabad have conducted smooth coordination and will spare no effort in forging the organization into a platform for the maintenance of stability. We hope India and other countries can view China-Pakistani cooperation with objectivity and make concerted efforts for common development.

— Courtesy: Global Times

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