Astana: India has gained the membership to the ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organization’ (SCO). In the ‘SCO Summit, held at Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana, all the formalities for India and Pakistan’s membership were completed. The Indian Prime Minister’s demand for the member nations of the ‘SCO’ to unite in the fight against terrorism, has drawn attention to itself. Also, due to the summit, bilateral talks were conducted between Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Chinese President, Xi Jinping. During this meeting, Prime Minister Modi voiced his expectations from both the countries to respect each other’s core concerns.
The total population of the member countries in the ‘SCO’ amounts to 40 percent of the world’s population and the combined gross production of these countries accounts for 20 percent of the world’s production. Prime Minister Modi made mention of these statistics and expressed content over its ‘SCO’ membership. He made a blunt remark by saying that the ‘SCO’ should not infringe any country’s sovereignty while developing facilities for connectivity. He also urged the ‘SCO’ member nations to take a tough stand against terrorism. The impelling statement made by Prime Minister Modi in the presence of Pakistan’s Prime Minister drew attention to itself.
During the summit, questions were raised over whether bilateral talks would be taking place between India and Pakistan. However, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs put a lid on it by saying that terrorism and talks could not coexist.
Accordingly, on the grounds of the Asthana summit, talks between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan did not take place. However, Prime Minister Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and held talks with him. During this meeting, Prime Minister Modi expressed that he expected both countries to respect each other’s interests. Also, President Jinping urged that both countries should develop new spheres of cooperation. Prime Minster Modi also thanked the Chinese president for supporting India’s ‘SCO’ membership.
The ‘SCO’ is looked upon as an imminent organization which can challenge the economic monopoly of the US and western countries. This organisation was founded in Shanghai, China in 2001. Russia and China had taken the initiative for the organization and Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan had joined it. Since 2005, India, Pakistan and Iran began scrutinising the organization. In 2010, a proposal for the expansion of the ‘SCO’ was put forth. However, China was not keen on incorporating India. Nevertheless, China did appear eager to include Pakistan. Even so, Russia upheld India’s stance and in an economic organisation which bears China’s sovereignty, India too gained membership along with Pakistan.
Owing to its ‘SCO’ membership, it will be easy for India to enhance trade and establish cooperation in other sectors with the fuel-rich Central Asian countries. This would increase India’s economic influence. Nevertheless, even analysts from Pakistan are questioning the extent of benefits that Pakistan would derive from its membership.