Ufa: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday pitched for resolving outstanding disputes and mitigating differences among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as his country, along with India, was granted full membership of the grouping.
Addressing the SCO Summit here which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sharif also hailed China's initiative to build an economic corridor to Pakistan and said President Xi Jinping's 'One Belt-One Road' initiative is a pioneering effort.
Sharif called for regional stability and economic integration to achieve objectives of peace and development.
He said the SCO countries must work together to mitigate differences, resolve outstanding disputes and create a favourable environment for the betterment of their peoples.
Sharif said Pakistan believes regional stability is the key to economic progress of nations.
In this context, he said peace in Afghanistan and Central Asia is crucial to regional connectivity and trade cooperation.
Referring to the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said it is linked to the prosperity of "our neighbourhood".
Hailing Xi's 'One Belt-One Road' initiative, as a pioneering effort, Sharif said CPEC envisions construction of roads, railways, and important energy projects.
"This blueprint of grand regional connectivity entails massive infrastructure and energy resource development, with unparalleled economic dividends for our future societies," he said.
India has been upset with China for building the USD 46 billion corridor as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) which India considers part of its territory.
Sharif also appreciated Putin's recent initiative to integrate the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Eurasian Economic Union saying this will enhance the scope of economic outreach of SCO member states.
Describing the inclusion of new member states in the SCO including Pakistan as a turning point in the history of the forum, he said SCO provides a useful forum to Pakistan in promoting peace and stability in South Asia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.
"Cordial and mutually beneficial economic relations with the SCO member states will be our foreign policy priority," Sharif said.
He said the SCO's expansion would prove a watershed in the changing geopolitical landscape of the Eurasian belt.
Sharif said Pakistan also offers critical overland and maritime routes for trade and energy connectivity within the SCO region and beyond.
Pakistan provides a natural link for the SCO member states to connect the Eurasian heartland with the Arabian Sea, the Pakistan prime minister said.