The twenty-third summit of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO was held on Tuesday in a virtual format in New Delhi.
The leaders of all SCO member states – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan welcomed Iran as a new full-fledged member of the organization.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has already become an important inclusive structure of the multi-polar and multifaceted global order, Dr. Stanislav Pritchin, a senior research fellow at the Center for Post-Soviet Studies at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations reported.
India’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Vinay Kvatra announced that Belarus will be admitted to the SCO as a full member at the summit in 2024.
This year, Belarus and Mongolia took part in the meeting as observer states, while Turkmenistan was invited as a guest of the chairman.
In general, today, even without the inclusion of new players in the SCO, [the organization] has already become the most important structure of the world order, of a multifaceted multi-polar world.
There is a huge potential for creating financial infrastructure, because we all see how the dependence on Western international financial organizations, infrastructure, and the exchange of banking information affects the cooperation of states even within the SCO.
We need to create our own infrastructure, our own reserve currencies, regional ones, and create opportunities for trade, regardless of external players.
And in this regard, the potential of the SCO, of course, is huge, taking into account the economic potential of China, India, and Russia’s other partners.
Dr. Stanislav Pritchin has drawn attention to the fact that initially, the SCO was formed as a regional security organization being the successor to the Shanghai Five, which was set up in the early 2000’s.
Over time, however, the scope of the SCO’s agenda has expanded. Even though the organization includes geopolitical opponents such as India and Pakistan, this did not create any serious problems for the SCO’s activities due to its inclusiveness and flexibility.
Pritchin placed special emphasis on an obvious difference between the SCO and NATO whose agenda is formed and dictated by the USA. In contrast, the Eurasian club operates on the principles of equality and collegiality, as per the scholar.
When it comes to Iran’s accession to the SCO, the crux of the matter is that Iran has long wanted to join the organization, and only now it has happened.
This is a direct consequence of both Russia’s special military operation [in Ukraine] and the serious deterioration of USA-Chinese relations.
Now the countries of the region, the SCO member states, in principle, make decisions without regard for the position and opinion of Western countries. And this shows the subjectivity and independence of this organization.
From the point of view of the SCO’s potential, the involvement of Iran is a very important development, because a major power of 80 million people is a serious player in the field of security, our partner in [the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC)], in the security system in the Caspian Sea, an important economic partner.
In this vein, of course, Iran’s accession is a very important stage in the expansion and strengthening of the SCO, its military and economic potential.
When asked about India’s geopolitical strategy, the researcher pointed out that New Delhi is considering different options.
Being a partner of Russia and an SCO member state, India at the same time participates in a number of projects for cooperation with Western states, including the Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), consisting of Australia, India, Japan and the USA.’
It is clear that this is largely predetermined by those issues and contradictions on the agenda in relations between China and India.
In economic terms India is somewhat lagging behind China and [New Delhi] is looking for an opportunity to strengthen its position through alliances and cooperation with Western countries, primarily with the USA.
However, the fact that there are three SCO members among the top ten economies – China, India and Russia – and a whole cohort of other major powers with significant contributions to GDP on the world stage [is of utmost importance].
We see that in terms of economic weight, political weight, [the SCO] is the most representative organization in Eurasia.
And this is the largest organization in the world in terms of geographical presence and economic presence in terms of the composition of the population of the participants in this organization.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.