‘SCO to play active role in intra-Afghan dialogue’

Ufa (Russia), July 8 (IANS) India and Pakistan’s admission to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will give new impetus to the development of the organisation, Alexander Lukin, director of the Centre for East Asia and SCO Studies, told TASS news agency.

“The entrance of India and Pakistan, and of Iran in a long-term perspective, as full-fledged members will be very useful for the SCO,” the Russian expert said on Tuesday.

“It’s going to give a new impetus to the organisation’s development in areas like economy and security,” Lukin said.

“There are all grounds to assume that the SCO could play a more active role in the intra-Afghan dialogue in future after its enlargement thanks to India and Pakistan,” the Russian expert went on to say. “Moreover, it’s only the SCO that can play this role at this stage. Pakistan is not the only country which has a potential to influence some players in the political processes in Afghanistan. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan also have certain influence on the Tajik and Uzbek segments of the Afghan society,” Lukin stressed.

The SCO is a permanent regional association founded in Shanghai, China, on June 15, 2001. Its priority tasks include joint counter-action to terrorism and extremism, cooperation in education as well as in the energy, oil and gas, transport, communication and other spheres.

The SCO comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status, while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are partners for dialogue.

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