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BACKGROUND

  • 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation hosted by China in the eastern city of Qingdao.
  • India’s first SCO summit after it acquired full membership.

THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION

  • Permanent Intergovernmental organisation
  • Members- China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan
    and Uzbekistan
  • Preceded by Shanghai Five mechanism

SCO’S CORE MANDATE

  • To tackle  3 evils – terrorism, separatism and extremism
  • Drug smuggling and cross border organisation

SCO -  A DIPLOMATIC BOOST FOR INDIA

India can gain momentum in connectivity with Central Asian republics in three major domains- Trade & energy  and  Security

TRADE  & ENERGY

  • Most of the Central Asian countries are landlocked  making it difficult for India to access the region
  • Central Asia is the provider of 10% oil and energy to the world .An energy deficit India stands to gain much from wider access to the Central Asian countries
  • Central Asian countries are endowed with fossil fuels, natural gas , uranium reserves and hydropower among many others
  • Pending projects like the TAPI (Turkmenistan –Afghanistan India Pipeline),
    and CASA (
    Central Asia And South Asia power project ) to get a much needed push.
  • Potential market for India in terms of IT, telecom, banking and pharmaceutical industries.

SECURITY

SCO’s permanent organ Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure is expected to contribute through

  • Intelligence sharing
  • Law enforcement
  • Developing best practices
  • Mutual Legal assistance
  • Extradition arrangement
  • Capacity building

INDIA –RUSSIA CAMARADERIE

  • A traditional ally, can help put Chinese interest in check and also balance power in the region and organisation
  • Mention of Pakistan-based terror outfits in BRICS Joint Declaration is a pointer to Russian success in persuasion

SOFT POWER

  • India can enhance its hard power capabilities by using soft power capabilities
    - Sufi music, Yoga, bollywood, cuisine, architecture and democratic values

DIPLOMATIC CHALLENGES

China

  • A veto wielding permanent member at UNSC - China ,has repeatedly blocked India’s bid to designate Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar under the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee
  • India is the only country within SCO to not endorse Belt Road Initiative, which passes through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir. India cites it as a violation against its territorial integrity

PAKISTAN

  • Pakistan share a historical and cultural links with Central Asia. Membership in OIC has backed Pakistan on Kashmir issue and can lead more sympathy to Pakistan on Kashmir issue
  • Dispute on Kashmir

TWO BILATERAL AGREEMENTS (INDIA AND CHINA ) ON THE SIDELINES OF SCO SUMMIT

  • Allow India to export non- Basmati Rice. China had earlier imposed a non- tariff barrier (citing Phyto- sanitary norms)
  • Hydrological Data on Brahmaputra - Post Doklam standoff, China had denied access to hydrological data which is a crucial source with respect to flood in India