Islamabad: Accepting India and Pakistan as full members will not have an impact on the unity of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), rather the it will offer a platform for New Delhi and Islamabad to solve their disputes between themselves, experts said.
There is some concern that the hostility between India and Pakistan might affect the organization’s unity. However, the SCO would also become an ideal platform for members with disputes to solve their problems bilaterally based on the “Shanghai Spirit,” Li Wei, an anti-terror expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.
“The SCO members will support India and Pakistan and offer help if the two countries need it, rather than internationalize their dispute within the organization,” Li Wei said.
“In short, the SCO is not a place for India and Pakistan to quarrel, but a platform for members to settle their disputes,” said Lin Minwang, a professor at the Institute of International Studies of Fudan University.
“All SCO members are participating in the Belt and Road initiative, and this organization is the initiative’s security guarantee,” Wang Yiwei, senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of the Renmin University of China, said.
The SCO membership and the B&R initiative help Pakistan’s economic development and security, and if Pakistan becomes a wealthy and prosperous country, it would be difficult for extremism and terrorism to grow, and that would, in turn, improve conditions along the India-Pakistan border, Li Wei said. “So I don’t think India and Pakistan should quarrel within the SCO, because they will find more reasons to cooperate.”
“The membership of India and Pakistan will add to the SCO’s international reputation and allow the bloc to better coordinate the positions of its member states on various issues, so as to enhance their cooperation,” Askar Nursha, a researcher at Kazakhstan’s Institute of World Economy and Politics opined.
In the next stage, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan might also become members. The SCO’s expansion will definitely bring more diverse voices, and the period of reaching consensus will also be extended.
But in the long-run, once the members reach agreement, it will represent the interests of a broad region with great international influence.