SCO moot

THE Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit has ended with a joint communiqu underlining the need for constructive talks and wider cooperation in matters related to global and regional security, the international financial crisis, food security and ecological changes. President Asif Zardari made use of the moot by holding talks with President Hu Jintao ahead of the conference, where both sides agreed to extend the strategic ties between their countries. Another summit held on the sidelines of the parleys was of the BRIC countries, comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China, which said the world was in need of a multipolar system. Questions were also raised about the wisdom of putting total reliance on the US dollar. President Medvedev's economic advisor Arkady Dvorkovich gave a call for building new global currency reserves as no currency system can be successful if financial instruments are to be denominated in just one currency. President Zardari's 40-minute talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated the beginning of a slow thaw between the two countries. The two leaders had last met at the UN in September 2008. After the Mumbai terror attacks, New Delhi unilaterally called off the composite dialogue that had gone on for three years and initiated a worldwide campaign to malign Pakistan. With the Congress highly sensitive to public opinion, the Indian elections further prolonged the stand-off. Except for diplomatic relations, all types of interaction with Pakistan was virtually ended. It was only after the extremist Hindu party BJP was humiliated in the elections that the Congress-led government developed confidence to respond to the international community's demand that it resume dialogue with Pakistan. The US also played an important role in encouraging the initiation of the dialogue. The talks have been termed important for they could revive the peace process, stalled for seven months. While President Zardari reiterated the desire to open full diplomatic dialogue with New Delhi, Dr Singh was only willing to move forward cautiously, partly because of any adverse reaction from the Indian public, which remains under the influence of a hawkish media. He made it a point to tell President Zardari that his mandate was to tell him that the territory of Pakistan must not be used for terrorism. What Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said about New Delhi not yet being ready to begin full diplomatic relations with Pakistan indcates it will take time before the composite dialogue is back on the rails. As things stand, the Foreign Secrataries of the two countries would discuss the outstanding issues before the two leaders meet again in the middle of July in Egypt.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt