Sunday March 26, 2023

SCO partnership for peace and prosperity

August 01, 2022

The Council of Foreign Affairs Minister of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) just concluded its meeting in Tashkent. Foreign ministers deliberated on; how cooperation among the member states can be enhanced and finalised documents for the upcoming Heads of States’ meeting. It was good to note that member states stressed the need for more close collaboration in diverse fields, including economy, climate change, development, security, and others. Member states also showed their satisfaction on the progress of the SCO and ponder on the expansion and future role of the SCO.

State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China Mr. Wang Yi’s speech provided a blueprint of deliberations and China’s intentions to further strengthen the SCO. He started by narrating current global context. He highlighted that we are facing challenges like pandemic and new hotspot of conflicts, which are putting pressure on global system. He described the situation as, the world is entering into troubled times, which will lead to transformation. He praised President Xi Jinping for comprehending the situation fully and truly and introducing initiatives like Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiatives. Both initiatives are an attempt to share Chinese wisdom, public good and prosperity with the world to solve the unprecedented challenges.

Foreign ministers of all participating member states supported the positive role played by the SCO to strengthen mutual trust, economic linkages and spirit to work for common good. They also discussed the possibility to establish the SCO Development Bank and expansion of membership in orderly manner. The foreign ministers also showed their commitment to give a push to mutually beneficial cooperation, regional connectivity and recognised positive role of the SCO in maintaining global production and supply chain stability.

The discussion at the SCO indicates that the SCO is conscious of global situation and required actions. The SCO also showed interest to contribute to combat the challenges by sticking to fundamental principle of win-win cooperation. Moreover, the SCO is pushing partnership-based approach to fight challenges. It is a positive sign that a big organisation is willing to contribute, through the principles of cooperation and partnership. It is the need of the time. As, we know, the world is going through the toughest days of its history. Pandemic has shaken the whole global economic and social systems. It has weakened the countries’ capability and capacity to tackle existing challenges of poverty and food insecurity. Simultaneously, climate change has put the future of planet at stake, and challenge is becoming severe with every passing day.

In this context, the role of partnership based, and cooperation organisations has become vital because it is only cooperation, which can help countries to combat challenges. Fortunately, the SCO is one of such organisations, which is promoting cooperation and equality through the partnership methodology. Therefore, it is getting world attention. President Xi also echoed same sentiments, while addressing the Head of State council, last time. He said Shanghai spirit is required to tackle the issues and strengthen the cooperation. He asked all countries to work for enhancing cooperation by building mutually beneficial partnerships, because it is only way out to come out of crisis.

President Xi, at multiple occasions, also emphasized that China, as a lead country of partnership should play its role and contribute, especially in the fields of economy and technology. President Xi Jinping, as he likes to walk the talk, have already launched two specific initiatives to promote economic linkages and technological cooperation. First, he introduced the “China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone”. It is a dedicated initiative for the SCO countries, which is offering multiple opportunities in the fields of trade, investments, technology, tourism etc. It is an excellent opportunity for the SCO countries to invest in Chinese market and attract funding from China for their ventures. The initiative can also help member states recover from Covid-19 impacts.

Second, President Xi is cognizant of the fact that technology is leading force of connectivity and will play critical role in the development of countries in the coming decades. Hence, he has announced that China will be working to deepen technological cooperation with all SCO members and share the technological dividend with all member countries, especially to enhance the use of technology for economic activities. China in 2021 organised China-SCO Forum on the digital economy industry. It was a step in right direction, especially by keeping in mind the effects of Covid-19 and importance of technology to combat the challenges. It is expected that the cooperation will be a good opportunity for all members to benefit from the Chinese technological development. As, we know China is a leading player in many technological fields like 5-G, quantum computing, space technology and artificial technology etc.

In the conclusion, it is good to note that the Shanghai Spirit is alive and founding and new members are committed to spirit and member states are working to strengthen the cooperation by adhering to principles of partnership. Further, it is extremely satisfying that the SCO is not showing any intent to become an alliance-based organisation, rather it is looking for ways to further strengthen the partnership based approach. Lastly, member states are committed to achieving the goals of sustainable peace and prosperity and China is taking lead on this front.