ISSI hosts roundtable on “Astana Summit 2024: Solidifying SCO’s Partnerships”

ISSI hosts roundtable on “Astana Summit2024: Solidifying SCO’s Partnerships”

ISLAMABAD, JUN 21 /DNA/ – China Pakistan Study Centre (CPSC) at Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted a roundtable discussion titled, “Astana Summit2024: Solidifying SCO’s Partnerships”. The event was moderated by Dr Talat Shabbir, Director CPSC. The speakers at the roundtable included Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director General ISSI; Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BoG, ISSI; HE Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of Republic of Kazakhstan to Pakistan; Ambassador Babar Amin, Pakistan’s first National Coordinator of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, Professor, University of Peshawar; and Mr. Marghoob Saleem Butt, Pakistan’s National Coordinator for SCO, MOFA.

DG ISSI Ambassador Sohail Mahmood stressed the significance of the upcoming Astana Summit within the SCO framework, underscoring SCO’s role as a pivotal trans-regional platform committed to stability, economic development, and cooperative multilateralism. Emphasizing SCO’s expansive reach covering 60% of Eurasia, encompassing 40% of the global population, and a significant portion of the world’s GDP, he underscored its evolution into a vital platform for stability and multilateral cooperation. Ambassador Sohail Mahmood highlighted SCO’s commitment to non-alignment, non-confrontation and inclusivity, offering an alternative perspective in international relations and a different cooperation model in a polarized world. He also acknowledged the internal and external challenges facing SCO, urging coordinated efforts amidst complex regional and global realities. Pakistan’s active engagement with SCO, he noted, aligned closely with its national development goals and aspirations for regional peace and prosperity, reflecting its proactive role in advancing SCO’s objectives.

Earlier, Dr. Talat Shabbir highlighted the pivotal role of the SCO in fostering regional stability and prosperity through robust security mechanisms, enhanced economic collaboration, and cultural exchanges. Emphasizing the significance of the Astana Summit 2024, he highlighted the SCO’s commitment to promoting peace and cooperation on a global scale.

Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin highlighted Kazakhstan’s role in the SCO’s development, emphasizing its contributions to regional stability through robust counterterrorism mechanisms and economic cooperation. He underscored Kazakhstan’s commitment to fostering deep ties with SCO countries, promoting global peace, and enhancing regional connectivity. Additionally, he discussed bilateral efforts with Pakistan in geopolitical dimensions, digital development, economic collaboration and connectivity, affirming a shared vision for peace, prosperity, and environmental security in the region.

Ambassador Babar Amin emphasized the significant role of cooperation within SCO member states, stressing also the importance of people-to-people connections and media engagement. He highlighted SCO’s evolving visibility and potential for enhancing development dynamics, suggesting it could surpass BRICS in certain aspects. Addressing challenges such as terrorism and security, he stressed the imperative of collaborative efforts to foster connectivity and mitigate obstacles, including the involvement of groups like TTP.

Professor Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi underscored the interconnectedness of security and economics in global affairs, emphasizing the recent Gaza and Ukraine conflicts as examples. Prof. Dr. Soherwordi proposed key measures including diversifying regional ties, establishing mutual non-aggression agreements among powers, and jointly combating terrorism to ensure regional stability and resilience against foreign intervention. His remarks emphasized the urgent need for collective action to safeguard the region’s economic and security interests.

In his address, Dr. Marghoob Saleem Butt, Pakistan’s National Coordinator for SCO, underscored the significant contributions of the SCO in various domains, including food security, climate change, and counter-terrorism. He emphasized the expanding scope of cooperation within the SCO, highlighting initiatives such as joint border operations and enhanced cyber cooperation. Dr. Butt also outlined Pakistan’s priorities during its chairmanship, focusing on connectivity, poverty alleviation, and youth empowerment through digital initiatives. He also noted that Pakistan would be hosting the meeting of SCO Ministers of Trade/Commerce in September 2024 and the Council of Heads of Government (CHG) in October 2024. Looking forward to Astana Summit, he expressed Pakistan’s commitment to adopt the documents which would reflect shared values of good neighbourliness, trust, and partnership, alongside commitments to initiatives such as safe drinking water, sanitation, and strategies for development, anti-drug efforts, and energy cooperation.

Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, in his concluding remarks, said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) stands committed to its core mission of fostering security and economic cooperation among member states. He added that SCO is an organization focused on addressing diverse security challenges including terrorism, extremism, separatism, and non-traditional threats such as climate change and food security. Highlighting the upcoming Astana summit and the expansion of SCO membership to 10 states with the inclusion of Belarus, he underscored the organization’s evolving role and effectiveness in regional stability and development efforts.

The roundtable discussion concluded with a comprehensive question and answer session. The event was attended by a large number of diplomats, practitioners, academics, think-tank experts, students, representatives of the business community and the media.