Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: SCO plus

India for greater role to ‘SCO plus’ nations in Afghanistan

With the assassination of Afghanistan's chief peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani, India is hoping that its Russia backed desire of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) getting itself involved as a grouping would gain traction.

The SCO Regional Forum, whose members and observers essentially enclose Afghanistan, would be an effective means of addressing some of Afghanistan's problems if it treated observers (such as India, Iran and Pakistan) and special invitees (Afghanistan) on an equal footing, said government sources here.

That is a good regional platform, they said of the grouping that extends a helping hand to Afghanistan, nurtures little ill will towards Iran and Pakistan and has a greater interest in stabilising the country than the West since the flow of drugs and militants from Af-Pak region directly affects their well being.

The proposal was aired by Russia and found a backer in India at a time when the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), routes ending in a funnel in Uzbekistan, is being increasingly relied upon by the West to send supplies to Afghanistan.

The SCO Regional Forum could also talk to the US and the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), both of which prefer to deal bilaterally with countries in Afghanistan's near neighbourhood, but now need to involve the region's major players as a grouping to address the Afghan issue.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India