The Belt and Road and the Expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Venue: Lehu Hotel, University of Shanghai, China
A report by Sahibzada Muhammad Saeed
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent international organization with eight members. This organization accounts for 3.5 billion which is almost half of world population with 25% of global GDP and 80% geographical area of Eurasia. 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative was discussed in Belt and Road Summit in June 2017. This project involves increasing maritime economic integration throughout Asia –Pacific, Europe and Africa by infrastructure development in the countries which lies on main sea lanes of communications. This project is considered as a win-win situation for all participating countries in the form of collaborating in maritime security, widening trade volume and economic prosperity. This project will benefit SCO members through CPEC that will connect landlocked central Asian SCO member through Economic Silk road (belt). So these countries will tap maximum economic benefits by the shortest access through CPEC to trade and economic route.
From October 31 to November 2, 2017, Shanghai University and Institute of Russian, Eastern European & Central Asian Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has jointly organized a high-level academic discussion for building a high-end platform for the sectors of government, industry, science, and research from countries along the Belt and Road. The title of the conference was “The Belt and Road and the Expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization”.
In the conference, scholars from Russia, Belarus, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Ukraine and Taiwan have participated. Along with all these international participants, representatives of various domestic research centres were gathered from all over the China. Pakistan and India have joined Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this year. So, for the first time, the organizers of this conference have sent invitations to Pakistan and India. Sahibzada Muhammad Saeed was the first young Pakistani research scholar who joined this remarkable forum.
The two-day conference consisted of six sessions including introductory and closing sessions. In the first session prospects for the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were discussed. The subject of discussion in the second session was economic cooperation between Europe and Asia in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. While in the third session, the role of 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Shanghai Cooperation Organization was discussed. On the second day’s first session, discussion encompassed the challenges for political stability and security within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Whereas, in the last session, new opportunities for the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were debated.