India, Pakistan set to join China, Russia in regional security group

Jul 11, 2015 12:00 AM

India and Pakistan began accession to a regional security group led by China and Russia on Friday after two days of summits, which President Vladimir Putin held up as evidence Moscow is not isolated in the world.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), meeting in the Russian city of Ufa a day after the BRICS emerging economies held a summit there, said the invitation to the two Asian nations showed a “multipolar” world was now emerging.

Those words will have pleased Putin, who says the United States has an outdated vision of a “uni-polar” world dominated by Washington, and wants to show Russia has not been weakened by Western sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

“The evolution of the SCO is taking place at a complicated stage in the development of international relations and amidst the emergence of a multipolar world,” the group said in a declaration after the meeting.

“These processes are accompanied by increasing security challenges and threats, increasing uncertainty and instability in various regions of the world.”

The SCO, which also includes the Central Asian former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, is widely seen as a platform for Moscow and Beijing to project influence in the region.

Until now it has not been a big force and relations between China and Russia have been slower than Moscow would like, despite agreement on a major gas supply deal last year.

But Putin saw the signs of unity in the SCO and the BRICS — Brazil, India, South Africa, China and Russia — which agreed to coordinate efforts to keep their economies stable, launched a development bank and agreed on a currency pool.

On Friday, the leaders of the SCO nations voiced their strong opposition to any attempts to rewrite the history of World War II.

The stance, which appears to show indirect criticism of Japan, was clarified in a joint statement adopted by the organization’s members at their meeting in Ufa.

Russia, hit by sanctions by the United States, Japan and European countries, is boosting its relations with non-Western countries, in rivalry with the Group of Seven industrial countries, sources said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the expansion of the SCO should serve a “springboard” for the organization to become one of the most dynamic in the world.

“The time has come to reach out across the region,” Modi said. “We have everything we need to succeed.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawab Sharif said: “President Putin’s efforts will enhance the political and economic scope of the Eurasian belt.”

The addition of Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed neighbors who have years of tensions between them, could also lead to easing the conflicts between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The two leaders agreed in a separate meeting in Ufa that Modi would visit Pakistan next year.

Joining a group that includes energy producers such as Kazakhstan and Russia may have been a strong incentive for the two countries to join.

“India is particularly interested because it lacks direct access to Central Asia, and it sees SCO membership as a way to get a better foothold in the region. SCO membership could better position India to benefit from Central Asia’s gas riches,” said Michael Kugleman, senior programme associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Wilson Centre in Washington.

But he added: “In (the) SCO, India and Pakistan wouldn’t be dominant powers — China and Russia would retain that title.”

The SCO did not invite Iran to join, although it has long sought membership. The group says Iran can join only after reaching a deal with big powers on its nuclear program.

With the addition of Iran, the group would control around a fifth of the world’s oil and represent nearly a half of the global population. The BRICS account for a fifth of the world’s economic output and 40 percent of its population.

Market Research

The International Affairs Institute (IAI) and OCP Policy Center recently launched a new book: The Future of Natural Gas. Markets and Geopolitics.

Cover_242-width

The book is an in-depth analysis of some of the fastest moving gas markets, attempting to define the trends of a resource that will have a decisive role in shaping the global economy and modelling the geopolitical dynamics in the next decades.

Some of the top scholars in the energy sector have contributed to this volume such as Gonzalo Escribano, Director Energy and Climate Change Programme, Elcano Royal Institute, Madrid, Coby van der Linde, Director Clingendael International Energy Programme, The Hague and Houda Ben Jannet Allal, General Director Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie (OME), Paris.

For only €32.50 you have your own copy of The Future of Natural Gas. Markets and Geopolitics. Click here to order now!


 

Upcoming Conferences
« May 2019 »
May
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31

Register to announce Your Event

View All Events