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In mid-July, the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation took place in Vienna on the theme “Synergy between international regional organizations and the OSCE in Central Asia”. A delegation from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by Secretary General Vladimir Norov took part in the event. At the forum site, one of the most discussed was the problem of building an effective security system in Central Asia.
Vladimir Norov noted the success of the SCO structures in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism - the main areas of opposition for the security agencies of the organization’s member countries. According to him, the SCO has an important role to play in ensuring peace and stability in Central Asia, which is facilitated by the regular anti-terrorist exercises Peace Mission, the work of the Conference of Defense Ministers of the member states, and the activities of the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure.
"Today, the SCO acts as a reliable platform for fruitful cooperation in the interests of creating a polycentric world order, ensuring the rule of law, equal, joint, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security," he summed up.
This interaction is especially relevant today. Against the backdrop of the US economic confrontation with some SCO, the importance of mutual support by the member states of the Organization is growing. Meanwhile, experts mark the beginning of a new stage in strengthening the Eurasian region through the rallying of the most dynamically developing and politically active actors.
According to Kyrgyz political scientist Mars Sariev, by tightening the trade war with China, the United States is helping to strengthen and expand the SCO, and today Eurasian countries are uniting under the auspices of the organization. And the observer countries, which are under pressure from the United States, are stepping up their engagement with the Shanghai. An example of this is the strengthening of cooperation with the SCO countries of another geopolitical adversary of the United States - Iran.
"In fact, we are talking about a collective realization that security in the region depends solely on the countries of Eurasia," Sariev said. According to him, it is the issue of maintaining regional security that helps unite countries into one powerful bloc. “If earlier there were fears that the SCO is a purely Chinese project, with a Chinese trade agenda, then after the accession of India and Pakistan, these fears disappeared. Therefore, more effective work is expected, which will contribute to the formation of a common language and a single vector,” he emphasized. Sariev.
Currently, the Organization includes eight states - Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Four more countries have observer status, and six have dialogue partners. The number of SCO supporters continues to expand, despite the US efforts after the events of 2014 to isolate Russia, which along with China determines the agenda of the SCO.
As Higher School of Economics professor Alexander Lukin notes, “Russia and China in Central Asia have no disagreements in the political sphere. They have the same goals. They support stability, economic development, and the preservation of secular regimes.” The SCO is gradually integrating into the general world order and is ready to respond promptly to new challenges and threats, reliably protecting the interests of all participating countries. Meanwhile, the SCO is a “conversation between its own,” where countries are ready to listen and, most importantly, hear each other and take into account mutual interests and seek compromises, despite the differences. This "Shanghai spirit" was clearly manifested at the June SCO summit in Bishkek, following which the Organization's member countries reached a new level of integration and interaction. The participants emphasize that the problems of Asia should be resolved by the countries of the region, and hope that by the anniversary summit, which will be held in 2021, the SCO will unite under its banners a large part of Eurasian space.