By Farman Nawaz Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-4 20:43:01
Pakistan and India, after bitter experiences of being members of international organization but unable to solve their regional issues, are now both present at another platform, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), whose aims are regional and which looks inward.
Previously the platforms where Pakistan and India placed their issues took an international approach toward regional issues; therefore their priorities were fulfilling the demands of its international allies.
Regional issues fell victim to international politics. They were solved promptly when linked with the interests of international players.
When it comes to the interests of major players, then international organizations became a SWAT team and solve the issue within weeks and months, but issues like what Pakistan and India are facing are only used as geopolitical pawns.
In September 2013, Russia was eager to see Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif Nawaz attend the SCO summit against the backdrop of swiftly changing developments in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Pakistan is likely to become a full member of the SCO.
Similarly, India is an important regional emerging power and its inclusion in the SCO will increase the weight of the organization on international horizon.
But what Pakistan and India could not achieve in seven decades cannot be achieved in a few years.
The SCO is an opportunity for both nations but haste could spoil this opportunity.
The hard standpoints of India and Pakistan have always kept them apart not only on international platforms but also on regional levels. The lack of mutual trust also added fuel to the fire of mutual antagonism.
The SCO is a regional platform and its concentration on the elimination of extremist organizations from the region is a way to bring India and Pakistan closer.
This may seem unlikely, given their contentious history, but new developments in the region, for example the threat of ISIS, can bring Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iran and China closer than ever.
The ambitions of this new threat go way beyond the traditional enmity of India and Pakistan. It could become a headache for the whole region.
The SCO is a platform where India and Pakistan do not need to lobby for the accomplishments of their goals. The future of Afghanistan lies in regional development and the new leadership of Afghanistan is not willing to become a puppet for others.
The future of Afghanistan and the ambitions of SCO run in parallel.
The mutual consent of Pakistan and India working under the umbrella of the SCO for the development of Afghanistan will create an environment where both nations can learn how to bury the past and move toward peace.
The focus of the SCO on Afghanistan is a type of laboratory for Pakistan and India where they can learn from the experience of sitting together.
Working on development projects in Afghanistan will create a new environment for Pakistan and India where their security is at stake.
The SCO will provide them an environment where they can work for the future of the region.
In the past, India and Pakistan could not envision a situation where they would not only work for themselves but also for the whole region.
This unique experience will then help them search for regional paths to peace and ultimately find solutions for their other problems, which are also related to the fragile peace between them.
The author is a Pakistani columnist and runs an Urdu Weekly newspaper in Pakistan. firstname.lastname@example.org