India has called for a greater role by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in rebuilding Afghanistan.

India has always held the position that full-scale cooperation by the SCO could be vital for stabilising Afghanistan. Bulk of the SCO’s members and observers are Afghanistan’s neighbours.

However, Iran’s defiance of the West and the SCO’s tendency of trying not to annoy the West led to the organisation playing a more subdued role in Afghanistan.

Addressing the SCO Heads of Government Council in Tashkent on Friday, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh felt that the SCO could also play a useful role in promoting trade connectivity in the region and countering terrorism. The kind of intervention she envisaged for the SCO in Afghanistan is in common projects and financial commitments.

She also welcomed the SCO’s creation of an Energy Club of member states, observers and dialogue partners and assured Indian participation in its inaugural meeting in Moscow next week to work out a common approach document.

On the sidelines of the SCO meeting, Ms. Singh met Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister Murad Askarov and Trade, Mines and Industry Minister Mohammadrezo Nematzade. India is looking to enter into an energy and minerals partnership with Uzbekistan especially in the area of uranium. She also met Hazara leader and Second Vice-President of Afghanistan Mohammad Karim Khalili and SCO Secretary General Dmitry Mezentsev.

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