Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

India becomes a permanent member at SCO. What next?

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

[pib] Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CTSO, NATO

Mains level : Not Much

The Prime Minister has participated virtually in the Joint SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization)-CSTO Outreach Session on Afghanistan.

What is CSTO?

  • The CSTO is a Russia-led military alliance of seven former Soviet states that was created in 2002.
  • Current CSTO members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan. Afghanistan and Serbia hold observer status in the CSTO.
  • Its purpose is to ensure the collective defence of any member that faces external aggression.
  • It has been described by political scientists as the Eurasian counterpart of NATO, which has 29 member states, while the CSTO has just six.

Outlined functions of CSTO

  • CSTO supports arms sales and manufacturing as well as military training and exercises, making the CSTO the most important multilateral defence organization in the former Soviet Union.
  • Beyond mutual defence, the CSTO also coordinates efforts in fighting the illegal circulation of weapons among member states and has developed law enforcement training for its members in pursuit of these aims.

What does CSTO membership provide?

  • While CSTO membership means that member states are barred from joining other military alliances, limiting, for example, their relationship with NATO.
  • Its members receive discounts, subsidies, and other incentives to buy Russian arms, facilitating military cooperation.
  • Most importantly, membership presumes certain key security assurances – the most significant of which is deterring military aggression by third countries.
  • In the CSTO, aggression against one signatory is perceived as aggression against all.
  • It however remains unclear whether this feature works in practice.

Back2Basics: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

  • NATO was found in the aftermath of the Second World War.
  • Its purpose was to secure peace in Europe, to promote cooperation among its members and to guard their freedom – all of this in the context of countering the threat posed at the time by the Soviet Union.
  • It is a military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949.
  • It sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
  • Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • NATO has spread a web of partners, namely Egypt, Israel, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Finland.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

Can the SCO be the regional body that stabilizes Afghanistan?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SCO

Mains level : Role of SCO in Afghan Peace

On the face of it, the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) this week in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, is well placed to lead the stabilization of Afghanistan after the American retreat.

About SCO

  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the then security and economic architecture in the Eurasian region dissolved and new structures had to come up.
  • The original Shanghai Five were China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
  • The SCO was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included. It expanded in 2017 to include India and Pakistan.
  • Since its formation, the SCO has focused on regional non-traditional security, with counter-terrorism as a priority.
  • The fight against the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism has become its mantra. Today, areas of cooperation include themes such as economics and culture.

India’s and the SCO

  • India and Pakistan both were observer countries.
  • While Central Asian countries and China were not in favor of expansion initially, the main supporter — of India’s entry in particular — was Russia.
  • A widely held view is that Russia’s growing unease about an increasingly powerful China prompted it to push for its expansion.
  • From 2009 onwards, Russia officially supported India’s ambition to join the SCO. China then asked for its all-weather friend Pakistan’s entry.

Afghanistan and SCO

  • Afghanistan has been engaged with the SCO for over 15 years.
  • In 2012, Afghanistan became an observer in the SCO when then-Afghan president Hamid Karzai visited China.
  • In 2015, Kabul applied for full membership in the group.
  • Kabul sought to be a member of the SCO as it believes that it is a natural candidate.
  • Geographically, Afghanistan is a part of the SCO region.

Limited (or No) progress made by SCO

  • For all the political hype, the SCO has not deepened regionalism in Central Asia.
  • Two decades after its formation — it was set up just weeks before the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington — the institutional promise of the SCO remains just that — a promise.
  • Seen from the subcontinent, the SCO certainly looks better than the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
  • That India and Pakistan, whose differences have prevented even regular meetings of SAARC, are actively participating in the SCO, would point to its attractiveness.
  • But then SAARC is such a low bar.

Opportunities for role-play in Afghanistan

The crisis in Afghanistan presents a major opportunity for the SCO to realize its regional ambitions.

  • Involvement of regional superpowers: The SCO’s importance for Afghanistan seems self-evident when you look at its sponsors and members. Its founding leaders are the two great powers of the east — Russia and China.
  • Neighborhood are members: Its other initial members were Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan to the north and northeast of Afghanistan.
  • Observers vested interest: Besides Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus and Mongolia are observers. Iran is said to be on track for full membership.
  • Many dialogue partners: The SCO has a number of “dialogue partners”. They include Armenia and Azerbaijan from the neighboring Caucasus region and Turkey a step further to the West. Nepal and Sri Lanka from the subcontinent and Cambodia from southeast Asia are also dialogue partners.

Issues with SCO

  • China centrism: For an organization that bears the name of Shanghai, but is focused on Central Asia, its associates look disparate.
  • Lack of coherence: The Central Asian members of the SCO have quarrels of their own, and have struggled to develop collective approaches to their common regional security challenges.
  • Dint go beyond dialogues: As it broadened its membership, the SCO has, unsurprisingly, struggled to deepen institutional cooperation.
  • Not comprehensive: There is also one important country missing in the mix. It is Turkmenistan, which shares an 800 km border with Afghanistan and a 1,150 km border with Iran.
  • Neutrality of members: The organizing principle of Turkmenistan rulers is absolute “neutrality” — think of it as an extreme form of “non-alignment”. It refuses to join any regional institution, political or military.
  • Individual interests: Russia’s effort to build a regional institution in its Central Asian periphery ran parallel to its plans for the so-called “strategic triangle” with China and India. India and Pakistan, needless to say, are poles apart on the Taliban.

No common interest in Afghan Peace

  • The US military retreat from Afghanistan has brought cheer to both Moscow and Beijing, although publicly they criticize President Joe Biden’s hasty retreat.
  • The US retreat might weaken the glue that binds Moscow and Beijing in Central Asia or tightens it.
  • Although Russia and China are closer to each other than ever before, their interests are not entirely the same in Central Asia.

Russian alternatives to SCO

(1) Central Security Treaty Organisation

  • While military confidence-building measures have grown under the SCO banner, Russia had its own security organisation for the region, called the Central Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).
  • Three of the SCO members — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan — along with Armenia and Belarus are members of the CSTO.
  • Russia sees itself as the sole protector of the former Soviet Republics and may not be ready to share that role with China — “yes” to coordination, but “no” to a Sino-Russian security dyarchy.

(2) Eurasian Economic Union

  • Moscow also appears reluctant to back Chinese proposals to promote trade integration under the SCO banner; it prefers the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) under its own leadership.
  • China is not a member of either CSTO or EAEU. This is one reason for the weakness of SCO regionalism.

Other deterrents

(1) Affinity with Taliban

  • China has openly admitted to cooperating with the Taliban by restoring all formal diplomatic ties. It is the first such country to acknowledge the Taliban.
  • Turkmenistan too, which is not part of SCO, has been quite open to engaging the Taliban in sync with its principles of neutrality.
  • Some Russian analysts see Turkmenistan as the potential weak link in the defense against the Taliban’s potential threats to the region.
  • Uzbekistan seems open to a cautious engagement with the Taliban.

(2) Iranian aspirations for unwarranted interference (just like Turkey does regarding Kashmir)

  • Iran, which has ethnic and linguistic links with the Persian-speaking Tajiks, appears equally worried about the Taliban’s policies towards minorities.
  • As Moscow and Beijing, Tehran was happy to see the Americans leave in humiliation and appeared hopeful of a positive engagement with the Taliban.
  • Those hopes may have been suspended for now, if not discarded.

What can the SCO do now?

  • The Afghanistan debacle presents an opportunity for the SCO to play a constructive role in meeting the region’s burgeoning security challenge.
  • Providing humanitarian relief, tending to refugees, facilitating an inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation constitute immediate and long-term goals in which the organization can fill a role.
  • The SCO can also pressure the Taliban to share power with other domestic actors and refrain from providing sanctuary to foreign terror organizations (through foreign funds from Saudi*).
  • It can suspend Afghanistan’s observer status, curtail border traffic or withhold recognition, investments, and aid, should Kabul be found wanting.

Way forward

  • While the SCO is not an impressive regional institution, it remains an important diplomatic forum.
  • India has sought to make full use of the SCO’s diplomatic possibilities without any illusions about its effectiveness.
  • At the SCO summit this week, PM Modi would remind other leaders of the “three evils” that the SCO set out to defeat — terrorism, extremism, and separatism.
  • Few would disagree that the Taliban embodied all the three sins in the past. Today, the Taliban and its mentor Pakistan say the sinner wants to become a saint.
  • India must focus on finding common ground with those members of the SCO who do share India’s concerns about Afghanistan.

Conclusion

  • Given this divergence, it is unlikely that the SCO can come up with a “regional solution” for the Afghan crisis.
  • The only real Afghan convergence today is between Pakistan and China.
  • Expect them to try and nudge the SCO towards a positive engagement with the Taliban.

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Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

SCO Agreement on Mass Media Cooperation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SCO

Mains level : India-SCO cooperation

The Union Cabinet has accorded an ex post facto approval for signing and ratifying an agreement on cooperation in the field of mass media between all member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Highlights of the Agreement

  • The agreement, which was signed in June 2019, would provide an opportunity for the member states to share best practices and new innovations in the field of mass media.
  • It aims to promote equal and mutually beneficial cooperation among associations in the field of mass media.
  • The main areas of cooperation in the agreement are the creation of favorable conditions for the wide and mutual distribution of information through mass media in order to further deepen the knowledge about the lives of the peoples of their states.
  • It will assist in broadcasting television and radio programmer and those, distributed legally within the territory of the state of the other side.

What is SCO?

  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the then security and economic architecture in the Eurasian region dissolved and new structures had to come up.
  • The original Shanghai Five were China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
  • The SCO was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included. It expanded in 2017 to include India and Pakistan.
  • Since its formation, the SCO has focused on regional non-traditional security, with counter-terrorism as a priority.
  • The fight against the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism has become its mantra. Today, areas of cooperation include themes such as economics and culture.

Try this PYQ now:

Q. In the context of the affairs of which of the following is the phrase “Special Safeguard Mechanisms” mentioned in the news frequently?

(a) United Nations Environment Programme

(b) World Trade Organization

(c) ASEAN- India Free Trade Agreement

(d) G-20 Summits

India’s entry to the SCO

  • India and Pakistan both were observer countries.
  • While Central Asian countries and China were not in favor of expansion initially, the main supporter — of India’s entry in particular — was Russia.
  • A widely held view is that Russia’s growing unease about an increasingly powerful China prompted it to push for its expansion.
  • From 2009 onwards, Russia officially supported India’s ambition to join the SCO. China then asked for its all-weather friend Pakistan’s entry.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SCO

Mains level : SCO and India

In an indirect reference to the Chinese infrastructure projects in PoK, our PM has urged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to respect “territorial integrity” and “sovereignty”.

What is SCO?

  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the then security and economic architecture in the Eurasian region dissolved and new structures had to come up.
  • The original Shanghai Five were China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
  • The SCO was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included. It expanded in 2017 to include India and Pakistan.
  • Since its formation, the SCO has focused on regional non-traditional security, with counter-terrorism as a priority.
  • The fight against the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism has become its mantra. Today, areas of cooperation include themes such as economics and culture.

Try this PYQ now:

Q. In the context of the affairs of which of the following is the phrase “Special Safeguard Mechanisms” mentioned in the news frequently?

(a) United Nations Environment Programme

(b) World Trade Organization

(c) ASEAN- India Free Trade Agreement

(d) G-20 Summits

India’s entry to the SCO

  • India and Pakistan both were observer countries.
  • While Central Asian countries and China were not in favour of expansion initially, the main supporter — of India’s entry in particular — was Russia.
  • A widely held view is that Russia’s growing unease about an increasingly powerful China prompted it to push for its expansion.
  • From 2009 onwards, Russia officially supported India’s ambition to join the SCO. China then asked for its all-weather friend Pakistan’s entry.

Tap to read more about SCO

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

[pib] SCOJtEx-2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SCOJtEx-2019

Mains level : SCO

  • Union Minister of Home Affairs inaugurated the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue (SCOJtEx-2019) in New Delhi.

SCOJtEx-2019

  • SCOJtEx is being organized with the aim to provide an opportunity to enhance the coordination & co-operation involving multi-agency operations in an earthquake scenario.
  • The four day long simulation exercise shall be conducted as per the International Search & Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) methodology & guidelines.
  • The participants of all 08 member countries namely China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan shall be participating in this exercise (Pakistan opted out).
  • On the initiative of Government of India, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is hosting SCOJtEx-2019.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

Eurasian Economic Forum

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Eurasian Economic Forum

Mains level : Read the attached story

India skips the summit

  • India has skipped a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which was organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at Xi’an in China.
  • Since the BRI’s launch in 2017, India has remained firm on not singing it off at the SCO’s annual summits in 2018 and 2019.
  • The summit’s declarations of both years reflected the endorsement of the controversial project by all members but India.
  • India has been a member of the SCO since 2017.

The EAEU and the Belt and Road Initiative

  • In November 2018, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev met in Beijing for the 23rd annual meeting between heads of government, and the two sides agreed to enhance trade and economic ties.
  • China would aims to synergize the Belt BRI and the Eurasian Economic Union.
  • Both sides expressed willingness to dovetail the China-proposed BRI and Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union.

The BRI and India’s opposition

  • The BRI is a mammoth infrastructure project unveiled by China in 2017, which plans to connect the three continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa.
  • The ‘Belt’ part refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt, consisting of three overland routes.
  • First, a link between China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe. Second, a link through Central Asia and West Asia linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea. And third, a connection from China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Indian Ocean.
  • The ‘Road’ part refers to the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, creating maritime trade channels from China through the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the South Pacific.
  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an important part of the BRI, passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • In May 2017, India strongly opposed the BRI as it cannot accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Back2Basics

SCO

  • The SCO, an intergovernmental body for security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region, was formed in 2001 by the ‘Shanghai Five’ (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan).
  • It was formed in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
  • Uzbekistan joined the SCO in 2001, with India and Pakistan following suit in 2017.
  • The SCO has traditionally prioritised on counter-terrorism, listing terrorism, separatism and extremism as “the three evils.
  • However, since its formation, the SCO’s domain has expanded to include subjects such as culture and economics.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

What SCO summit means for India’s global and regional interests

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SCO

Mains level : Read the attached story

  • PK Modi has departed for the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the then security and economic architecture in the Eurasian region dissolved and new structures had to come up.
  • The original Shanghai Five were China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
  • The SCO was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included. It expanded in 2017 to include India and Pakistan.
  • Since its formation, the SCO has focused on regional non-traditional security, with counter-terrorism as a priority:
  • The fight against the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism has become its mantra.
  • Today, areas of cooperation include themes such as economics and culture.

India’s entry to the SCO

  • India and Pakistan both were observer countries.
  • While Central Asian countries and China were not in favour of expansion initially, the main supporter — of India’s entry in particular — was Russia.
  • A widely held view is that Russia’s growing unease about an increasingly powerful China prompted it to push for its expansion.
  • From 2009 onwards, Russia officially supported India’s ambition to join the SCO. China then asked for its all-weather friend Pakistan’s entry.

How does membership of the SCO help India?

 [I] Counter-terrorism

  • These sit well with the SCO’s main objective of working cooperatively against the “three evils”.
  • India wants access to intelligence and information from SCO’s counter-terrorism body, the Tashkent-based Regional Anti Terror Structure (RATS).
  • A stable Afghanistan too is in India’s interest, and RATS provides access to non-Pakistan-centred counter-terrorism information there.

[II] Connectivity

  • Connectivity is important for India’s Connect Central Asia policy. Energy cooperation dominates its interest – and it’s in China’s neighbourhood.
  • But India will also have to deal with an assertive China, which will push its Belt and Road Initiative during the summit.
  • SCO membership also bolsters India’s status as a major pan-Asian player, which is boxed in the South Asian paradigm.

Geopolitics and play out for India

  • The US’ power struggle with China, exit from the Iran nuclear deal JCPOA which affected India’s oil imports from Iran and adversarial attitude towards Russia which delayed India’s defence purchase like S-400.
  • While US’s stance against Islamabad after the Pulwama attack was evidence of its support to New Delhi, India has had a strained relationship with China after the Doklam stand-off, followed by attempts to reset relations in Wuhan.

A cause of worry for US

  • In the SCO, India’s sitting down with less-than-free regimes, Russia and China has always had the West worried.
  • India, however, has always been tactful in not aligning with these countries on governance issues.

How does it play out in the India-Pakistan or India-China relationship?

  • In the absence of the SAARC summit, the SCO summit gives an opportunity for Indian and Pakistani leaders to meet informally, on the sidelines.
  • Both sides have the obligation not to bring in bilateral disputes, but can cooperate on issues of mutual interest and importance.
  • Signing off on joint counter-terrorism exercises will be a new form of engagement between the two militaries.
  • With China, it is yet another opening, like the BRICS summit last year, to bring down tensions, and ahead of the next informal summit in October in India.

Way Forward

  • What draws India to SCO is the “Shanghai spirit”, which emphasises harmony, non-interference in others’ internal affairs, and non-alignment.
  • The bottom-line is that it helps India keep all options open in terms of international partnerships.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SCO

Exercise Sary-Arka Anti-terror 2019

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SCO, Ex Sary-Arka

Mains level: Strategic importance of SCO


News

  • India, Pakistan and the other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will take part in a joint anti-terrorism exercise to be held this year by the grouping.

Ex Sary-Arka Anti-terror 2019

  • The decision to hold the joint exercise was announced during the 34th meeting of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) council held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • Delegations of the competent authorities of India, Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the RATS Executive Committee attended the meeting.
  • Chaired by Russia, the meeting also declared plans to hold the first stage of the joint border operation “Solidarity 2019-2021”.

About RATS

  • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism. It is headquartered in Tashkent.
  • Its head is elected to three-year term. Each member state of SCO sends permanent representative to RATS

Back2Basics

Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO)

  • The SCO, in which China plays an influential role, is also comprised of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
  • India and Pakistan were admitted into the bloc in 2017.
  • It is Eurasian economic, political and security organisation headquartered in Beijing, China.
  • Its main objective is military cooperation between member states. It is primarily centred on security-related concerns of Central Asian members with main threats being terrorism, separatism and extremism.
  • It was established in June 2001 as a successor of Shanghai Five mechanism which was established in 1996 with China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan as members.
  • Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia enjoy observer status of SCO.
  • Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Nepal are dialogue partners of SCO.

SCO & India

As of July 2015, India has been accorded full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) along with Pakistan at its Ufa summit held in Russia.

  • SCO is a Eurasian economic, political and military organisation
  • HQ: Beijing, China
  • Established: 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders 6 countries viz. China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
  • Since 2005, India was having an Observer status of SCO and had applied for full membership in 2014. India would be finally ratified in the member list by 2016

Connecting the dots with SCO

Per Chinese and Russian scholars, creation of SCO helped address the security problems and enhance economic cooperation in the Central Asia region. The Western discourse, however, has tended to see the SCO as a mechanism to counter-balance the influence of the United States in the region. Both are correct!

SCO is considered and tagged as anti-west. Behind the veils, it is alleged that SCO is going to be a NATO like military alliance in East. You might expect a question on that line and be asked to put India’s context in place.

However, China exaggeratedly says that the SCO was founded on a principle of non-alignment and functions as an effective stabilizer for regional security and peace. China has always maintained that the focus of SCO is on combating the “three evil forces” – terrorism, separatism, and extremism – and other unconventional security menaces.

Advantage India?

There are multiple benefits for India as well as the SCO which is concerned with security and stability in the Eurasian space.

  1. India’s presence will help moderate the anti-West bias of the grouping, which will calm Washington’s nerves to a considerable extent
  2. Greater engagement with India will also aid the organisation’s capability to improve regional economic prosperity and security
  3. Membership will give India an opportunity to play an active role in China’s Silk Road initiative which plans to link a new set of routes from the north and east of the country to an old network of routes in the greater Eurasian region.
  4. Indian interest in International North-South Transport Corridor to connect Mumbai with Abbas port in Iran. This route is shorter than the existing Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea
  5. SCO may also serve as guarantor for projects such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipelines, which are held by India due to security concerns.

India’s entry is also likely to tip the balance of power in favor of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Challenges ahead for SCO?

It is naive to expect that India’s differences with China regarding the border or its ties with Pakistan will magically disappear. The inclusion of Pakistan in the SCO will also make it difficult for India to enjoy a level playing field.

Pakistan, which is embroiled in a domestic political crisis, may not be so willing to challenge hardliners in its country, and go along with India in promoting peace and stability in the Eurasian space. We have seen how Indo-Pak presence in SAARC makes it difficult to ink key pacts.

The clash of interests in a post – 2014 Afghanistan makes prospects of cooperation difficult. There is also a possibility that China may collude with Pakistan to suffocate India’s voice in the decision making process.

Other than that, India will have to balance the geopolitical ambitions of China and Russia to evolve a mutually beneficial framework.


Further readings:

SCO becomes a reasonably hot topic post India’s accession to the member status. If you are comfortable with IR, try these articles  –

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