Pivot to Asia and SCO
SHANGHAI Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has been a game changing organisation which was established in 2001 in Shanghai. Some of people and analysts feel that the purpose of SCO was to counter balance NATO, counterbalancing the activities of Nato in Central Asia and the US. The Beijingbased SCO currently has China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as members. SCO is an emerging powerhouse imposing itself with gravitational pull. Within a decade, SCO seems to be progressing to generate focus and close follow-up in various circles.
The geo-strategic potential of SCO can be hardly ignored. It marks the largest regional organisation in terms of both land mass and population. Sino-Russian relationship has steadily stabilised in the new century and has grown much closer, bound by their mutual distrust of U.S. hegemony and their perceived need to promote a multipolar world. China in particular sees SCO as an important tool for this aim and ‘has an interest in showing that it can build an international bloc independent of the West and organised on non-Western principles with new security concept and new model of regional cooperation.
The current dynamics of the USChina –Japan triangle will continue to haunt the region. Pakistan, while still a developing country, is a strong market in both energy and defence sector, therefore makes it one of the most vital markets for Russia. Although China’s major security interests do not always coincide with that of Russia, Central Asia may be an exception as both countries are concerned with stability in Afghanistan and are interested in handling regional security. In addition, energy security is an issue where China’s economic interest and Russia’s military interest converge within the SCO.
India and Pakistan have much to gain and little to lose from assuming full membership in the SCO, On the security side, both countries hope to pursue their interests in Afghanistan and Central Asia. SCO “might be able to play a facilitating role in dealing with the Kashmir dispute with India, The expansion of the SCO will help China fulfil its economic aspirations in both Central and South Asia though Russia fears that the expansion of the SCO could vault China into the driver’s seat in Central and South Asia. SCO is expanding its portfolio beyond border disputes and security cooperation to include a wide range of economic, political, and cultural issues. Adding India and Pakistan is an essential aspect of such an effort, For China, an expanded SCO advances both security and economic interests.
The addition of nuclear states India and Pakistan to the SCO will not only change the political map but will also influence the balance of power in the world system of political affairs. Current geopolitical realities tell us that a world is turning into multipolar system from a unipolar one. Two blocs will be formed of regional alliances, Russia-China-Pakistan ‘Axis’, of course we are aware of Pakistan – China all weather relationship but Russia who has been a time tested friend of India getting close to Pakistan has raised serious concerns in India. Russia and China are both members of significant international organisations, in which they can shape global affairs by coordinating actions and strategies.
More important is that China’s grand strategy basically aims to create alternatives to each single institution, organisation or structure of the so-called developed world in the long run, and Russia plays a central role too. China has always been a great support against its rival India in term of military and economically. — The writer is freelance columnist, based in Peshawar.