Strategic importance of SCO 2022
THE summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (2022) has been commenced in the historic city Samarkand in Uzbekistan.
The Republic of Uzbekistan currently holds its chairmanship.It previously chaired the Organization three times (2003-2004, 2009-2010 & 2015-2016).
President of Uzbekistan initiated 45 important proposals in the SCO summits which have further enhanced the effectiveness of cooperation in political, trade, economic, transport and logistics, innovation and other areas.
22 initiatives of these have already been implemented, 23 are in the process of being implemented.
Uzbekistan initiated the process of harmonization of 37 SCO documents in one year. Moreover, 30 of these documents were initiated by Uzbekistan.
During a bilateral meeting of the SCO President Xi Jinping and Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev pledged to speed up bilateral cooperation and bring more fruitful outcomes.
The two leaders agreed to expand mutually beneficial cooperation between two countries, consolidate friendship and partnership and work toward a community with a shared future at the bilateral level.
Xi appreciated the contribution Uzbekistan has made toward having a successful Samarkand SCO summit and stands ready to work with it to promote the sound development of the organization.
In this connection, the Uzbek President Mirziyoyev termed state visit of the Chinese President as “historic,” which will surely help consolidate the traditional friendship between the two countries, chart the course for future cooperation and elevate the Uzbekistan-China comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height featuring new vitality and new prospect.
Both countries inked various MOUs and agreements of worth US$15 billion. Moreover, the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will provide new impetus to bilateral relations in the region.
China’s closer ties among member states will benefit regional organizations especially the SCO.
The summit has received particular attention from the international media and policy makers.
Fifteen heads of state, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif attended the summit.
As the world’s largest and most populous regional organization, the SCO has a prominent feature of openness and inclusiveness.
The second round of SCO strategic expansion is one of the core agendas of the Samarkand Summit.
The SCO summit 2022 has been held in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, increasing tensions in Taiwan, constant irrational increase in the US FED basic rates, unilateral imposition of sanctions by the US, prolonged trade war, promulgation of US punitive legal measures against China, global food & energy crisis, climate change and last but not the least widening economic inequality between the West and the East which urgently needs collective economic countermeasures and political response from the SCO leadership.
The SCO 2022 has great significance for all the countries, especially Russia to win diplomatic and political support against the West sanctions, NATO eastward expansion and, of course, Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In case of Pakistan, it seeks financial assistance and humanitarian assistance to overcome widepread destruction of the recent floods and clubbing of CPEC with BRI.
All the Central Asian countries desire to further strengthen the scope, utility, potential, functionality and importance of the China’s C+C5 formation and success of the BRI in the region especially after political turmoil in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The core concept of the SCO is the “Shanghai Spirit” which proposes a set of new concepts, new models and new norms of dialogue, diplomacy and development through positive, productive and participatory holistic approaches with equal socio-economic rights, promotion of multiculturalism, shared prosperity, community development and last but not the least, the formation of new global order based on respect of sovereignty and dignity of the humans and humanity.
So Xi holistic philosophies of global development initiative, global security initiative and shared prosperity will be instrumental for further strengthening of the SCO in the days to come.
Interestingly, the countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, all hope to join the SCO shows its global recognition being a connecting hub of socio-economic prosperity and greater regional connectivity.
The SCO carries spirits of no alliance, no confrontation, and no targeting any third party have won the hearts of many countries.
Moreover, having aims of achieving desired goals of socio-economic prosperity and economic sustainability through befitting politics, security, economy and humanities makes it superior to any other international forum or organization.
Let me clarify that the SCO cooperation is not limited to terrorism fighting or security as constantly depicted in the West.
It covers much wider areas including trade, technology, agriculture, culture and infrastructure.
So it is geographically comprehensive and politically holistic and economically inclusive and socially diversified.
SCO cooperation in trade and economy, science and technology, agriculture, culture, tourism, transport, border issues, information security, countering the spread of COVID-19, combating terrorism and drug threat have been the topical issues on the roundtables of the member states.
So SCO 2022 summit has great significance for all the member countries. To conclude, there is an urgent need to further strengthen multilateral cooperation against the looming threats of climate change, food & energy crisis, poverty, emergence of numerous vicious viruses, instability in global supply chains and last but not the least, socio-economic exploitation of the West.
It is need of the hour that SCO member countries should pursue green energies, human capital development, greater regional connectivity through liberalized economies and incentivized trading systems, infrastructural development, artificial intelligence technologies, swapping of national currencies and integration of banking & financial systems for the further consolidation and strategic expansion of the SCO.
—The writer is Director, the Centre for South Asia & International Studies Islamabad & regional expert, China, CPEC & BRI.