The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's growing importance is seen in the numerous new applicants waiting in line for membership. The 23rd SCO Summit hosted by India on July 4 saw progress in areas like digital transformation and economic cooperation. However, timidity in acting on foundational issues like anti-terrorism reflects the internal contradictions and tensions within member states - a continuing challenge for SCO.
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The restoration of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia marks the end of a seven-year marathon of indirect confrontations and impasses involving a broad spectrum of actors. It allows both to harvest economic and political benefits. Most importantly, it confirms China’s status as a significant power with influence to unlock broad and complex international agreements.
The recent SCO Summit held in Samarkand was significant not only because it was held in-person after three years but also because of its rapid expansion and the increasing attention to economic development. The SCO’s progress on connectivity, commerce and digitalization is relevant for India which takes over the presidency in 2023.
The relevance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has increased due to the clear divisions developing in the world, since the Ukraine crisis began. Several leaders will probably attend in-person, a chance to advance their regional and economic interests. India has good relations with most SCO countries, and sees the upcoming Summit as a way to secure its strategic and security objectives.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s July visit to Iran was a geopolitical reset for both countries. The collapse of the JCPOA and the Ukraine crisis has strategically united Iran and Russia against their common adversary, the U.S. Russia is now a credible alternative to fill the investment vacuum for Iran’s defence, trade and energy sectors.
The Ukraine crisis has sent the EU scrambling for new gas supplies, generating fresh interest in gas pipelines from Central Asia and West Asia via Turkey. Practical difficulties make most of these new projects unviable.
The SCO foreign ministers met in Tashkent in July to plan for the all-important SCO summit in September. New additions and old issues remain, but the SCO is now growing into a significant grouping, with importance to India
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has been focused on resolving the Afghan crisis. But divergent views of members and the influence of China and Pakistan have eluded a solution. This has been further impeded by the ongoing sanctions and humanitarian issues which are beyond the organisation's scope.
Financial intermediaries are critical lubricants for business, growth and development. The Indo-Pacific countries are industrializing, but smaller nations lag behind economically. The Quad countries can aid the advancement of the financial architecture in the Indo-Pacific by helping to develop an ecosystem, modelled on the examples of Japan and India.
Renewable energy is trendy, but still unreliable at this early stage. Countries will find it necessary to fall back on traditional energy sources like coal and oil for their needs, and this can lead to energy price spikes. To protect itself from this scenario, now is the time for energy-dependent India to set up a wealth fund that invests in listed oil companies around the world, to reduce the risk of energy insecurity.