SCO Opens in Tajikistan: Pakistan’s Imran Khan Calls for Replacing Geo-politics With Geo-economics —
Sept. 16, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is convening at the head-of-state level in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with the crisis in Afghanistan the major immediate challenge to their 20-year mission. The eight SCO countries—China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—become nine with full membership granted to Iran. (Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia are “Observer States”; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey are “Dialogue Partners.”)
Early reports indicate multiple “sideline” meetings of the leaders of various countries. In particular, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was quite busy on Thursday, meeting on the sidelines with Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. He had a more extensive bilateral meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on “trade, investment and transportation links.”
He had been welcomed at Dushanbe’s airport by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon. According to the statement released by the Pakistani government, he described an upgrading of the two countries’ engagement—what he termed his “Vision Central Asia” policy—and emphasized connectivity and Pakistan’s “pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea.” His key example of connectivity was the Trans-Afghan railway project connecting Termez/Mazar-e-Sharif/Kabul/Jalalabad/Peshawar. His statement repeated the need to transform from “geo-politics” to “geo-economics.”
He also addressed the new Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum on expanding the “minuscule” $80 million of trade. He declared that Pakistan would expedite work on the CASA-1000 power transmission line to benefit from “your clean and cheap energy [such as] hydroelectricity”, too much lacking in Pakistan. Otherwise, he stated that he would work with President Rahmon to stabilize Afghanistan: “We will be doing our best to make sure they get together and there is an inclusive government.”
Afghanistan’s Neighbors Move to Secure Borders and Counter Terrorism—
Sept. 16, 2021 (EIRNS)—In tandem with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) began on Thursday two days of head-of-state sessions in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The six nations involved are Russia, Tajikistan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan. Their immediate central concern is to modernize and upgrade their forces on an unstable border with Afghanistan.
After an initial meeting on Thursday, the Secretary-General of the CSTO, Stanislav Zas, stated: “In connection with the change in the situation in Afghanistan, plans for the deployment and the makeup of both military contingents and special forces were agreed.” Fourteen documents were reconciled and prepared for signing, including the “temporary presence of joint CSTO forces in the Central Asian region” and the equipping of rapid response forces. Earlier, Russia’s Security Council had issued their own statement saying that the CSTO, besides reinforcing the Tajik-Afghan border, would also tackle drug trafficking and illegal migration.
Kurchatov Institute To Create a Joint Russia-Belarus Scientific Research Center–
July 28 (EIRNS)—The president of the Kurchatov Institute Scientific Research Center Mikhail Kovalchuk announced yesterday that his Institute and Belarus’s National Academy of Sciences had signed a roadmap to jointly establish “powerful projects related to new research infrastructure based on powerful installations—mega-sciences—[that] are now unfolding in front of us.”
Kovalchuk stated: “The program has also been launched in Russia and it is expected to become the world’s most accomplished research infrastructure in 5-7 years…. Importantly, both Belarus and Russia have the required tools. If we create this single infrastructural research space, we will become leaders in drawing other [Commonwealth of Independent States] CIS partners into this effort.”
He further said that “We have also proposed that a branch of the Kurchatov Institute be set up on the premises of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus to strengthen integration and cooperation. Also, we proposed that a branch of the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute be opened in Belarus in the field of new education.”
The TASS wire reporting on this announcement characterized the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center as “one of the leading research facilities in Russia and in the world. With its creation, Russia has set up a unique inter-disciplinary scientific and technical compound that comprises the Kurchatov specialized synchrotron radiation source (KISI-Kurchatov), the U-70 accelerator, the IR-8 and VVR-M neutron research reactors, the PIK high-flux research reactor, the T-10 and T-15 tokamak thermonuclear installations, plasma and other units.”