SCO was founded in 2001 in Shanghai with six permanent members Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia had the status of observer state. With two new members in the group the SCO will become one of the largest in terms of population and area, regional organization in the region. Currently China hopes for Iran to become a member of SCO.
“With the inclusion of two countries, SCO will become a regional organization with the largest coverage involving the biggest population”, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Hua Chungying.
The SCO aims to strengthen relations among nations and also hopes to promote cooperation in political affairs and economic- trade developments. It has also opened up a gateway for improving the bilateral ties between India and Pakistan. Meanwhile Beijing does keep a positive spirit hoping that the relations will improve between the two countries. According to some Chinese Experts, Beijing has strictly excused oneself from any bilateral disputes. However, they have agreed to help, but in case of any disputes instead of internationalizing the dispute within the organization.
Following India’s membership into the SCO, India’s aim of achieving regional and global stability and prosperity is somewhat obscured with the inclusion of Pakistan as well. India aims to strengthen its position in Central Asia by promoting integration, connectivity and stability across borders.
But how can India actually benefit from joining the SCO? To begin with, it provides an opportunity for Indian diplomacy to engage with Pakistan in broader regional setting. Also, China would have to deal with Pakistan, since they are heavily invested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Experts in China believe that the SCO is a perfect platform for India and Pakistan to mediate their disputes.
A major problem for India is that it is mainly a China dominated organization and the growing Nexus between China and Pakistan is something India needs to be concerned about. The ongoing Doklam standoff between both sides has also affiliated tension and restoration of the status quo.