|SCO Ministers of Defense Intend to Strengthen Cooperation
Ilya Kramnik, RIA Novosti's military observer – specially for InfoSCO
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states Defense Ministers meeting took place on April 29 in Moscow. The regular summit of heads of military departments of one of the largest political organizations of the world is of particular significance in today’s conditions of global crisis and growing tensions. The meeting was held within the framework of preparation for the scheduled for the middle of June summit of the SCO member states in Yekaterinburg.
Moscow meeting’s importance was confirmed by the meeting of the SCO member states Ministers of Defense with the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev that was held for the first time and deserves to become a bench mark of new practice for the Shanghai Six. As reported by the representative of the Administration of the RF President, “at the meeting of the President of Russia with the SCO Ministers of Defense the issues concerning prospects of the Organization development were discussed as well as strengthening of its role in ensuring the regional stability and security.”
SCO’s role in this quality is impossible to overestimate, at the same time the organization does not intend to turn into a military block – “By augmenting joint efforts in current challenges and threats counteraction, the SCO countries and their defense agencies do not seek to create a military block. The relevant collaboration within the framework of SCO is by no means directed against other countries,” the source of information from the Administration of the President of Russia underlined.
However the military component of the SCO countries cooperation is quite important all the same and these countries’ actions within the frame of such a cooperation is attentively watched in the entire world.
The SCO states collaboration is directed, first of all, to struggle against terrorism, separatism and extremism – the most urgent threats to the countries of the region. However it is not confined by these areas. The parties’ military-technical cooperation is also of primary importance. It should be remembered that the SCO countries actively use the armament of Russian make – to a greater or lesser extent, - and cooperation in the field of arms deliveries, development of new battle and policing systems are of great importance for ensuring the organization member states’ security.
Cooperation within the framework of SCO, particularly in the military field, will be undoubtedly strengthened. At the meeting, the SCO countries armed forces exercises due to be held in Kazakhstan in 2010 were discussed. They must become the largest since 2007, when the Peaceful Mission-2007 manoeuvres were conducted.
The 2010 exercises will be certainly of anti-terrorist “tint”, but it is already known that on these maneuvers Russia intends to use the experience gained in the course of the Five-day war in August 2008.
As is reported by a number of MSM, there is no legend worked out for the 2010 exercises so far. Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Altynbaev said that they will be held at the far south of the country — in Djambulskaya oblast, near the Gvardeysky settlement. There are assumptions that exercises will include warfighting experiments in the mountains, because next to Gvardeysky there are mountain ridges — the Kirghiz Alatau and Karatau.
It is known that while developing the exercises plan the militaries take into account the most important military and political events occurred since the date of the previous exercises. Up to date such an event is, certainly, the Five-day war, which allows to suppose its experience use while preparing and in the course of manoeuvres.
SCO is interested in security maintenance not only on the territory of the organization member states, but also on a global basis – this subject was touched upon in the talks of the Ministers of Defense of Russia and China, in particular discussing issues of boating safety off the African coast.
At present there are both Russian and Chinese ships off the Eastern African coast, ensuring commercial crafts safe navigation. India maritime forces ships situated off the African coast have the same mission – India has a status the Shanghai Cooperation Organization observer state.
In the course of the meeting the Russian and Chinese Ministers of Defense noted that cooperation in the sphere of struggle against piracy has to be disseminated also for other regions of the world, that face this adversity.
It should be noted in addition that, unfortunately, SCO, just as any other organization in the contemporary context does not have a recipe for struggle against piracy – commercial ship security is just control of symptoms, but not of the disease itself. Piracy’s background consists in misery and political unstability of some coastal states or others, and this problem can not be solved within the framework of one, though so strong international organization.
However other big players on the international arena can not boast about availability of recipes as well. Much attention was given during the meeting the Ministers of Defense to the situation in Afghanistan, where NATO operation continues, with the contingent growing – during the next six months its number can increase by thirty thousand people.
Obviously NATO still stakes on the Afghan question solution by force, the USSR suffered from in due time, and before it – the British Empire, so there are no reasons so far to believe that the North Atlantic block will succeed in doing it.
From the viewpoint of the SCO countries, the Afghan problem must be solved at multilateral negotiations with the participation of all personages, but for the time being a consunsus required to elaborate a single position on the matter is absent.
As a result, the SCO countries have now to deal with consequences of another's hasty decisions, drawing away funds for enhancing its security that in conditions of crisis could be spent more efficiently.
Alongside with that – nothing is done immediately. At the present time SCO already represents a respected international organization with a significant political and economic weight. There remains one thing to do – to wait results of the long and difficult work on this weight transformation into real results in form of consolidation of peace and security in the Asian region. The organization has all the things needed for this.