Code: 82125502 (5406406) | Date: 25/06/2016 | Time: 12:13|
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Indian expert: Iran’s SCO membership will benefit South and Central Asia

New Delhi, June 25, IRNA - A senior Indian expert of the international affairs believes that Iran’s full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will benefit not only the Central Asian nations but also those in the South Asia.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA here, a researcher at one of India’s top think tanks “Observer Research Foundation-ORF) at New Delhi Mr. Manish Vaid said, “Iran as a regional power and having rich hydrocarbon reserves, can help in consolidating energy markets, while facilitating one of the SCO’s objectives of energy cooperation in the region. Iran can take forward several SCO projects of energy, trade and connectivity, benefitting significantly to both the South Asia and the Central Asia, offering mutual benefits to all.”

On Iran’s gains from its joining the SCO, he said, “Iran has long sought membership in the SCO, but the group kept the country waiting until it reached an agreement with the US, Europe and other key international players on its nuclear program. Therefore, its full membership in the SCO will only help Iran to reorganize and strengthen its trade and economic ties with Central Asia and its member countries. Iran would gain in terms of trade and connectivity investments such as the Chabahar port, particularly after joining this grouping. Investments sought with China and Pakistan would come handy in this regard.”

“Further, the SCO platform would help Tehran in natural resemblance of the geo-strategic interests between Russia, China and Iran, while serving as a geopolitical counterweight to the U.S.” added the seasoned analyst of the world affairs.

Elaborating on the achievements of the SCO since its establishment, Mr. Manish Vaid said, “Ever since the SCO’s Convention on dombating terrorism, separatism and extremism was signed in 2001, the organization continues to evolve. Its security architecture has, so far, been incremental. But the regions, despite of giving priority to its security aspect, continues to face challenges due to the SCO’s ineffectual response to the regional crisis. The case in point is the unrest in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010, which resulted in violence and eventually toppling of the government. So, the SCO’s primary objective to counter terrorism, separatism and extremism has fallen short.”

Emphasizing the need to expand the domain of the SCO to enhance its effectiveness, Mr. Manish Vaid said, “The SCO should certainly expand its domain to cover wide range of portfolio which goes beyond economic and connectivity and should now strengthen its security architecture to fight extremism and terrorism in a more tactful way and with firm fist. Joining of Iran would help the SCO to maximize this objective.”