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MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, when India and Pakistan and, in the long term, Iran have joined the list of its members, may serve as the center of a new international community of states - Greater Eurasia - accounting for half of the world’s population, polled experts have told TASS.
The foreign ministers of the SCO member-states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) met in Moscow on Wednesday to review preparations for the organization’s summit due in Ufa (the capital city of Russia’s constituent republic of Bashkortostan) in July. Among other things they discussed ways of using the SCO as link between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China’s mega project called the Silk Road Economic Belt. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the summit in Ufa will consider the possibility of admitting India and Pakistan to the organization as full-fledged members. Twelve countries, including Iran, have shown interest in the SCO. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has described the "consolidation and perfection of the SCO" as one of the key priorities of Moscow’s policies.
"It is not ruled out that in the near future the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will become one of the central ones in a new community - Greater Eurasia. But that will require walking a long way and complementing the SCO’s portfolio with meaningful projects and experience of concrete cooperation," the dean of the world politics and world economy department at the Higher School of Economics, Sergey Karaganov, has told TASS.
"It is very probable that in the very heart of Eurasia there will emerge a new territory of economic development that will benefit one and all. That’s the essence of the report by the international discussion club Valdai we have drawn up on the eve of the forthcoming SCO summit," Karaganov said.
The deputy director of the Russian Centre for Research of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, Gleb Ivashentsov, believes that if India joins the SCO, that organization will incorporate the three leading countries of the region, including China and Russia. "In that case China, India and Russia will be able to present a common front against Western pressures each of these countries is experiencing at the moment, Ivashentsov told TASS.
"If the procedure of admitting India and Pakistan to the SCO is launched, this will create a precedent. New Delhi and Islamabad, currently experiencing certain tensions in bilateral relations, will be able to unite under the roof of one regional international organization of strategic importance. This will defuse many of the current disputes between them," Ivashentsov speculated.
"Very fruitful is the idea of using the SCO for linking the activity of the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s mega project Silk Road Economic Belt. Russian and Chinese leaders put their signatures to a statement on cooperation within the framework of these projects during memorable ceremonies in Moscow on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany. The point at issue is creation of a transport, energy and trading corridor between Asia and Europe. China is prepared to spend 40 billion dollars on the project through a special fund," Ivashentsov recalled.
"It is presumed that partnership under this ambitious plan will be developing not just on the basis of bilateral relations, but with reliance on common projects in the economy, energy and security. In implementing the Silk Road Economic Belt Russia will not have to compete with Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan. It will be more fruitful to push ahead with joint energy projects that cannot materialize without Russia’s involvement," Ivashentsov believes.
"Islamic radicalism is a common challenge to many SCO countries. By establishing tighter cooperation the Asia-Pacific countries will be able to resist Islamic State militants more effectively," he remarked.
And the director of the Globalization Problems Institute, Mikhail Delyagin, believes that two countries - Russia and China - determine the SCO policies. Naturally, ways of coordinating the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative and the EAEU activities will be the key item on the SCO summit’s agenda.
"When India and, particularly, Iran join in, the SCO will grow from a regional level organization into a global one, capable of uniting a large share of humanity and resisting US expansion as an equitable opponent," Mikhail Delyagin, a member of the discussion club Valdai, told TASS.
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