Bishkek (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Joint military operations of the countries, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (Sco), come to an end today after a series of exercises in China and in Russia in Chelyabinsk, in the Urals, involving 6,500 soldiers and dozens of jets and helicopters. Coinciding with the operations, the leaders of the 6 Sco nations (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), met yesterday in Bishkek, along with heads of State from Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia and officials from Pakistan and India.
The Chinese President Hu Jintao met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin along with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to discuss security and the fight against terrorism, but also collaboration in the energy, telecommunications and transport sectors. The Sco, which starter out as a defensive alliance against terrorism and outside aggression has evolved into a political organisation which now tends to gather together central Asia. Even if the final document signed by the leaders entitled “Long-Term Agreement On Neighbourly Relations “ speaks mainly of anti-terrorism measures and cultural relations, on the summit sidelines important commercial and financial deals were also signed.
Ahmadinejad, invited to participate in the summit said that the Sco must counter-balance the US threat hanging over part of Asia and represented by the missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.
The United States has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, from where it launches its operations on Afghanistan. But the Sco is pushing for their removal. Moreover Washington wants The US has also long sought Caspian and Central Asian pipeline routes that would circumvent Russia and let it tap the region's energy resources, while the Sco is increasingly proving a perfect platform for commercial energy trade. The Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev says that the Sco now represents the focal point of the Asian energy market and a perfect opportunity to create privileged relations with the European Union.
Analysts maintain that Russia and China’s rivalry supersedes points of common interest and therefore this body will never have an incisive role in international relations.