The heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have signed the Dushanbe Declaration after the conclusion of the summit on the 20th anniversary of the SCO in the capital of Tajikistan on Friday. The declaration carries various important themes beside urging the Taliban to create an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of representatives of all ethnic, religious, and political groups of the country. The forum observed that the consolidation of security and stability in the SCO space is possible only through early settlement of the situation in Afghanistan.
The SCO forum reiterated its priorities during the summit including ensuring regional security and stability, countering terrorism, separatism, and extremism, combatting transborder crimes including illegal drug trafficking, smuggling of weapons, ammunition, and explosives, and organized crime, ensuring international information security, strengthening border security, and jointly combating illegal migration and human trafficking, money laundering, economic crimes, and corruption. During the summit, the SCO’s leaders considered establishment of the following important apparatuses to enhance cooperation among the member states including SCO Anti-Drug Center, Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), the Universal Center for Countering Security Challenges and Threats of the SCO Member States, the SCO Information Security Center, and the Center for Countering International Organized Crime. The forum also initiated the procedure for Iran admission to the organization as a member and Qatar, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia as a dialogue partner.
According to reports, the SCO member states emphasize the importance of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) as well as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons (CWC) as an effective instrument in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. The forum reiterated its support to China’s belt and road initiative and its linking with the Eurasian Economic Union. The SCO member states expressed their resolve to combat terrorism through conduct of joint exercises and cooperation in identifying and suppressing the use of the Internet for terrorist, separatist, and extremist purpose under SCO platform.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an important intergovernmental permanent forum of regional countries working for the promotion of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in various fields among the member states over the last two decades. Being a representative forum of thickly populated and resource rich countries, the SCO has great importance at international level. The SCO member states have huge potential of regional cooperation in trade and investment, connectivity, energy projects and accessibility to untapped opportunities of exploitation of mutually beneficial capitals in the region. Currently, the forum has eight member states, four observer states and six dialogue partners, while the numbers of engaging states are increasing with the passage of time. According to experts, the connectivity of the Chinese market with Eurasian economic union through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has had a great impact on the regional economy. However, if the international community and regional stakeholders succeed in seizing the peace in Afghanistan, the forum will emerge as another European Union for the member states. The SCO leaders were much aware of the fact and the summit has called on Taliban for formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan so the full potential of the region can be tapped for the prosperous future of the SCO’s nations.