Beijing plans to open a role for India in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the six-nation body, comprising of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Presently, India along with Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan –has an observer status in the SCO. The recent news comes as a diplomatic triumph for India.
The recent security situation in Afghanistan has come as threat, reckoning the withdrawal of the US troops, thus the need of strong support by other countries has been realized. SCO has therefore considered India and Pakistan’s bid to become a full member of the organization.
Pakistan claims to have support from China as well as Russia for the SCO membership. Similarly, India also believes that the membership proposition from Beijing doesn’t mean thwarting any healthy engagement between India and central Asia. There is a more evolved thinking in the Chinese establishment which is looking for fresh partnerships in the region, including Afghanistan which applied recently for observer status in SCO. Indian officials also believe that SCO is going to be one of the most crucial forums to discuss the security situation post-2014 in Afghanistan and also for putting more pressure on Pakistan to check its terror-spewing jihadi groups.
China has successfully made its place, by managing to reduce the trade deficit with central Asian counties. Whereas, India’s economic relations with these countries are still bleak. The summit in June saw foreign minister S M Krishna lauding the role of SCO in combating terrorism and in promoting economic cooperation in the region and said India would be happy to play a larger and deeper role in the group.
Over the years, all forms of terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as drug and weapon trafficking, illegal immigration have been the issues monitored and controlled by most of the member states. Besides, the unrest and turmoil in Kyrgyzstan, favored by means of humanitarian and financial assistance, and the upheaval which still continues to rage the economic and social life in Afghanistan, are some of the concerns for which constant efforts are contributed by different member countries.
The tenth SCO summit also declared that cultural and people-to-people cooperation was of important significance to boost good-neighborly cooperation, and pay high attention to cooperation in culture, environmental protection, science and technology, innovation, public health, tourism and sports. Reports say that the next SCO summit will be held in 2012 in China. China will become the president country of next year’s SCO summit, according to the SCO Charter.
Considering the efforts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in easing the economic and political difficulties, will the involvement of new countries, better strategies and ideas boost the security, economic and cultural ties among the member countries?