In the light of the acute crisis trends in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, attention to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is consistently increasing. And this is not accidental, because from the very beginning of its existence, the SCO has remained a zone of calm and stability. This is a real result of trusting relations and close cooperation of all participating countries in the field of security.

On the contrary, the current situation in the world is characterized by high dynamics and turbulence of geopolitical processes. Acute global phenomena have significantly increased the uncertainty in the current formation of a new system of international relations. In addition, it is obvious that today they are trying to divide our world not only politically, but also economically.

One can see the aspirations to form some closed regional trade unions and partnerships, protectionism is growing, mutual sanctions are being introduced and threats of trade wars are being voiced. All new theories of the globalization of the future and the division of the world community into separate worlds according to new, stricter rules are being tested.

Before the summit in Qingdao, the political and expert environment once again discussed the question: how viable is an organization in which both superpowers and smaller countries participate? What is the SCO today? What can we expect in its development after the difficult expansion of its composition? I think that the SCO should be viewed differently, not from the stereotypical positions mentioned above, because this is a qualitatively new type of organization, which is already becoming a factor of influence on the global agenda from a purely regional platform.

Updated SCO

Let’s start with the fact that by its existence and development, the SCO demonstrates that a different, non-conflict format of the structure of international relations is quite possible and in demand. Over many years of joint work, the participating States have managed not only to maintain calm in the area of responsibility of the organization, but also to unite and strengthen multilateral and bilateral relations.

For example, today it would be difficult to imagine whether numerous bilateral projects or regional initiatives (for example, the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt) could have been implemented if the SCO had not strengthened the general atmosphere of stability and predictability in the difficult Central Asian region all these years.

To put it bluntly, the SCO now represents a clear countertrend: while the world is seeing constant attempts to separate states and fragment them according to political and ideological principles, the “Shanghai spirit” has managed to unite more than 60 percent of the territory of the Eurasian continent with a total population of about 3 billion people.

Therefore, it is obvious that the new composition of the SCO opens up qualitatively new horizons of international positioning and cooperation for the organization. And the SCO is not facing the problem of expansion (in terms of managing an expanded composition and enlarged potential), but rather a practical question of how the participating countries can use the opened opportunities more effectively.

Activation of economic cooperation

Against this background, some analysts are already drawing parallels between the SCO “eight” and the “Big Seven” club. According to forecasts, the potential of the economies of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization may soon overtake the volume of the G7. Just think, the organization includes the drivers of the world economy-China and India, the two largest markets and the rapidly developing global economies “number two” and “number seven”.

The SCO is gradually becoming an economically self-sufficient structure. And Kazakhstan stands for ensuring the economic security of the SCO through the activation of economic and investment cooperation. After all, it is the economy and trade that are the key element of any security system, so in the new conditions it makes sense to reconsider economic cooperation. Our history speaks directly about this, and now the SCO is creating a good opportunity for this.

For example, it is already more than obvious that transport interconnectedness can become a central task in the practical implementation of the interface of China, Central and South Asia, and Russia, and new roads will connect most of Eurasia. If you look at history, you can see that in ancient times the caravans of the Silk Road easily passed through all barriers and united many regions.

Today, in a globalized world, it is important to restore these ties, especially since the expansion of the SCO and the unification of the northern, central, eastern and southern parts of Eurasia under the auspices of this organization open up new horizons of opportunities. I am sure that the intellectual efforts of all the participating states will be aimed at finding financial, logistics, transport and tariff opportunities for creating new Asian corridors in the Center – South direction.

The SCO, renewed after the expansion – is a center of colossal human, natural, and energy resources and a zone of dynamic economic growth. For the past five years, the transport infrastructure of the modern Silk Road has been successfully expanding, designed in the form of a very promising initiative “One Belt and One Road”. New forms of communication are being created between the peoples and economies of Eurasia, and this opens up new horizons for joint development.

Maintaining stability and security

But, as before, the economy should develop in stable and safe conditions. The results of the SCO’s expanded year of work speak for themselves.

At the summit in Qingdao, 17 documents necessary for further integration of the economies of the participating countries were agreed and signed. The Qingdao package of documents reflects the unity of the approaches of the participating countries in the new format. In particular, the contents of the Qingdao Declaration indicate that all SCO members consider it necessary to maintain stability and security in the vast territory of the organization.

Thus, the decision of the Council of Heads of the SCO member States to approve the Action Plan for 2018-2022 on the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on Long-term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO member States indicates that the ideological and political and legal foundation has the potential to strengthen the organization at a new stage of development.

And the document on the approval of the Program of Cooperation of the SCO member states in countering Terrorism, separatism and extremism for 2019-2021 reflects the desire of all states of the organization to counter major security threats in Eurasia. And the fact that all countries have signed it shows a common interest: all countries want to live in peace and stability.

I am sure that the atmosphere of cooperation and the results of the SCO summit in Qingdao have managed to dispel the stereotype that in the modern format the SCO consists of a rather disparate group of states, where some (Russia, China, and now India) have greater potential and opportunities than other members due to their political weight and geographical size.

Kazakhstan is optimistic about the possibilities of the renewed SCO to find effective ways to use its potential. President of Kazakhstan N. A. Nazarbayev, in his speech at the organization’s summit in Qingdao, very correctly noted that the activation of the SCO economic mechanisms will allow using the combined power of the three-billion-dollar market of our countries.

I believe that today this is the strongest immunity against politicized economic sanctions and imposed trade wars and restrictions. And the results of the summit in Qingdao, China, confirm that cooperation based on the” Shanghai spirit ” creates opportunities for new growth of the SCO and all its members in a dynamically changing world.


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