Monday, March 28, 2011

Russia invites Afghanistan to join SCO

Moscow has invited Afghanistan to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]. The newly-appointed presidential special presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov has been quoted by Russian media as saying, "We fully support Afghanistan’s membership in the SCO.” His suggestion is that Afghanistan could be first admitted as an observer (like India. Pakistan and Iran) and could become a full member eventually. No doubt, Moscow's suggestion is bound to favor with China and the other SCO member states. Probably a consensus is available already. The big question is whether US would allow Hamid Karzai to accept the Russian offer. If Afghanistan becomes a SCO observer/member, US' plans to forge an exclusive strategic partnership between that country and NATO runs into complications. NATO has been hoping to keep a long-term military presence in Afghanistan. The SCO's annual summit meeting is due to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on June 15.
To what extent Moscow's push to get Afghanistan diversify its external relations has been taken in the context of the Libya developments (where NATO is being projected as the sole provider of security globally) is a related question. Kabulov has said SCO can render help to Afghan economy. But then, SCO is also a security organization.

1 comment:

Ángel said...

Mr. Ambassador; Thank you for the post. Your remark about the influence of the appointment of NATO as Security Provider for Libya is certainly interesting. It somehow reminds me of the fight for Spheres of Influence which linked Kosovo and Georgia. I strongly support the need for a Security Organization within Asia. A few questions, if I may. Do you think the SCO is mature enough to play thar role? Why wouldn't it play it regarding the crises in Kyrguistan? As a former Indian Diplomat (and, once a Diplomat, always a Diplomat), do you see India (and Pakistan) joinning the SCO in the short term?
Then, a final remark. I do not think it is NATO who is interested in remaining in Afghanistan but one of the nations in NATO.
Again, thank you for you excellent blog.