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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 41, October 4, 2014

Beneficial Outcome of Enhanced Participation in SCO

Monday 6 October 2014, by Mansoor Ali

In more than a decade of its existence, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has proved itself as an effective inter-state association. The mechanisms established for collaboration allow the institution and coordination of joint constructive efforts in different fields. Several countries and global organisations have displayed their increasing interest in cooperating with the SCO in various formats. All these facts indicate that the SCO is becoming a significant factor in regional as well as global politics.

The events in Ukraine have once again exposed the aggressive character of US methodologies and activities in furthering Washington’s interests in third countries. The international community has already observed similar moves by the US in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya in the recent past. There is little doubt that Washington’s concept of ‘coloured revolutions’ and widely practised ‘double standards’ will become the key elements of its ‘return-to-Asia’ strategy. Experts on world affairs are by and large united in their view that Washington’s objective will not be confined to the destabilisation of the Ukrainian situation. It will continue to exploit the prevailing economic, ethnic and religious conditions in Central Asia to stir up political unrest and organise protest actions among the populations there and intensify radical Islamist sentiments to bring down ‘undesirable’ regimes. All that could directly affect Indian interests.

Against this backdrop it is high time to take appropriate counter-measures to forestall such subversive activities and ensure that institutions aimed at regional cooperation—among which the SCO is the most noteworthy—are not weakened.

One of the most vital dangers to the countries of the region is the persisting aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan in the context of “Factor 2014”. Terrorist and extremist organisations have enhanced their operations while production and smuggling of drugs have grown substantially. It is imperative to further increase the SCO’s potential for resisting all kinds of threats, including organised transnational crime, and guarantee security to global imformation.

In April 2014 for the first time, Beijing hosted a meeting of the SCO’s Council of National Coordinators alongwith appointed representatives of the SCO Observer states in the 6+5 format. In the course of the meeting a proposal for setting up a joint cooperation committee between SCO members and observers in the 6+1 format was taken into consideration whereas the participation of observers in the Meeting of Secretaries of the Security Councils was confirmed. The preparation of all necessary documents on launching the enlargement process entered its final stage. A model memorandum on the obligations of the applicant state and the reception project were elaborated and finalised. In the light of all these developments India needs to expedite the work to promote its presence in the Organisation.

Enhanced participation in the SCO will offer the new BJP Government at the Centre, and in particular PM Narendra Modi himself, an opportunity to consolidate New Delhi’s positions on the world stage and hold major bilateral meetings with Russia and China within the framework of the SCO summits.

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