SCO summit

RUSSIAN President Dmitry Medvedev's expected meetings with his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts, Asif Zardari and Hamid Karzai, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's Summit, which began in the Russian City of Yekaterinburg yesterday, will add significance to the event. The SCO groups Russia, China and the ex-Soviet Central Asian Republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, while the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Iran are attending the summit as observers. President Medvedev's three-party meeting needs to be seen in the backdrop of Russia's readiness to cooperate with the United States in settling the Afghan conflict, which may also result in improving the security situation in Pakistan. The Kremlin's top foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko indicated that "the niches of cooperation between the SCO and the West can be expanded." The interaction between President Asif Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, their first since last November's Mumbai attack, would reflect Russia's welcome role in the global politics otherwise dominated by the US. Russia is a big power nearer home with which we should cultivate closer ties and one hopes that its intercession would help break the ice between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours. The intense fingerpointing by the Congress leadership at Pakistan after the carnage was obviously meant to improve its electoral ratings, but the approach does not seem to have changed after its victory in the recent election. Another event that has grabbed much of the global spotlight will be the first summit of the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China. BRIC, the grouping of four developing economies, are known to be contributing increasingly to world economy. There is a lesson to learn for Pakistan and other observer states: Establishing a relationship of mutual cooperation and common development can help reduce their reliance upon assistance from the West.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt