12 June 2017

News Story: SCO's membership opportunity for Pakistan to open up regional strategic options

by Muhammad Tahir

ISLAMABAD, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an influential regional security and economic block, has formally admitted Pakistan as its member, which is seen as an important foreign policy milestone for the country.

All the heads of the family members of SCO congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on this historic occasion at the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in Astana, Kazakhstan on June 9.

Sharif told the Astana summit that the SCO gives Pakistan a powerful platform for partnership to promote peace, build trust, and spur economic development for shared prosperity.

"The SCO's expansion takes place at an opportune time, as the Belt and Road Initiative transforms global economic landscape. And, in Pakistan, we are diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative. What's more, these mega projects will benefit the entire SCO community," he said.

It is widely believed that Pakistan's accession would allow its closer cooperation with other member states, especially in security and anti-terror cooperation as many of the regional countries currently face security challenges.

Another positive aspect of the development is that India has also secured the membership at the same time that could help the two bitter neighbors improve relations.

Read the full story at Xinhua