Thursday, June 22, 2006

More on the SCO

The alarmism over the Shanghai Cooperation Organization continues. From the Guardians blog, Dilip Hiro:
At the one day annual summit of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on June 15, more limelight fell on the leader of an observer country than on any of the main participants. That figure happened to be the controversial president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Despite the lowly observer status accorded to his country, Ahmadinejad went on to publicly invite the SCO members to a meeting in Tehran to discuss energy exploration and development in the region. And the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, proposed that the SCO should form an "energy club".

While making a plea that his country should be accorded full membership of the SCO, the Pakistani president, Parvez Musharraf, highlighted the geo-strategic position of his country as an energy and trade corridor for SCO members. "Pakistan provides a natural link between the SCO states to connect the Eurasian heartland with the Arabian Sea and South Asia," he said.
There's a selling point, I suppose. One of Russia's dreams for more than a century has been access to ice-free ports, a dream which resulted in numerous wars with China and Japan in the Pacific. But this is a shocking statement, if true:
Little wonder that, Iran applied for full membership; as did India.
I'm trying to find another source for this - as far as I'd heard, India was happy just being an "observer" nation for now. If India is joining the SCO as a full member, I'd be tempted to call US ambitions in Asia as dicey-er.

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