PM Abbasi, in Russia, advises SCO states to work for ‘mutual advantage’


SOCHI Dec 02 (TNS): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has stressed upon the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) member countries to fully harness their true potential “for our mutual advantage”, owing to the vast connectivity and economic prospects.

“Today, we are witnessing a historic opportunity for the SCO to truly have a trans-continental reach. In the coming decades, it would emerge as an important global geopolitical and geo-economic force,” he said.

Abbasi also cautioned against the politicization of economic development and connectivity projects since such a myopic approach would only hold back the collective progress.

“Let us harness the SCO’s potential and competencies for our mutual advantage. We stand ready to contribute to this collective endeavour,” he added.

In a statement during the meeting of the SCO’s Council of Heads of Government (CHG), the premier said Pakistan — having assumed full membership of the Organization — was set to bring more vitality with possessed tremendous potential for global, regional trade, and economic activities.

Abbasi said the SCO held tremendous potential for connectivity, trade, energy, and economic development. It could lead to progress and prosperity of the entire region, he explained.

“With a consumer market of over 200 million people, vast business potential, and a rapidly modernizing infrastructure, Pakistan offers the SCO enormous opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Pakistan’s deep historical and cultural ties, as well as strong economic and strategic links with the SCO members, can act as an enabler in realizing the SCO’s vision,” he added.

The prime minister said trade and economic cooperation held the key to the SCO region’s long-term stability, progress and prosperity.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — which is the pioneering project of the Belt and Road Initiative — complements the SCO’s vision of connectivity and economic integration, Abbasi stated.

He said that Pakistan wanted to see the CPEC connected to the six main trade corridors of the SCO as it would help fulfil the long-cherished aspiration for land and maritime connectivity between Europe, Central Asia, China, and South Asia.

Pakistan, he added, was also pursuing projects such as CASA 1000 and TAPI Pipeline Project to promote regional energy connectivity.

Abbasi said the world was going through a profound transformation marked by an eastward shift of the global development potential.

Coinciding with this change, he said, the SCO was creating a new imprint on the global international order.

“The ‘Shanghai Spirit’ — as enshrined in the SCO Charter and the Treaty on long-term neighbourliness, friendship, and cooperation — is our guiding principle.

It can help promote our shared vision of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity, and the pursuit of common development,” he added.

He said the SCO should continue to contribute towards building a just and rational world order based on the UN Charter principles of respect for international law and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Sapar Isakov said his conviction was that the SCO’s role would be enhanced with the inclusion of Pakistan and India.

Isakov offered a proposal for the establishment of a digital silk road and the construction of a road network passing through all member states.

Kyrgyzstan, therefore, was interested in materializing the OBOR project.

The Council adopted a number of decisions related to budget, financial, and administrative matters of the SCO.

The joint communique issued by the Council focused on the economic, trade, energy, connectivity, and social sector cooperation.

Bakytzhan Sagintayev — the prime minister of Kazakhstan — said Central Asia’s landlocked countries needed to streamline their efforts for close cooperation through road networks.

SCO member states were unanimous in their views to shape the organization into an effective forum by becoming united over common goals of the closely-knitted road, rail, and communication networks.

The countries’ leaders converged for a meeting at Russia’s popular summer resort in the Krasnodar region.

In his address, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said they had to think about future and move ahead. For future development and prosperity, he said, economic cooperation among the SCO states should be strengthened.

He added that the region was confronted with economic challenges and subsequently offered his country’s expertise and cooperation in tackling related issues.

Medvedev recounted the effects of global economic meltdown and stressed upon strengthening cooperation in road infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and food security, suggesting multilateral border connections through Eurasian and One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiatives.

The SCO was working over such agreements.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, on the other hand, talked about changes in the world in light of the regional hot spots.

Fighting terrorism in all forms and manifestation should be the SCO countries’ priority, he said, suggesting an active study of the threats posed by extremism.

Premier Li said China was ready to advance the regional security with other countries through cooperation, stressing upon synergizing efforts to translate ideas into concrete measures.

The SCO’s identity and objectives should flourish, he commented, referring to the OBOR project and terming South Asia as a massive economic market for the SCO due to the huge population.

Li said China was ready to open its markets to the world to increase competitiveness.