The 20th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of States was held virtually on 10th November, 2020. The meeting precedes the SCO Summit to be hosted by India at the end of this month, and for which preparations have been on through the year. In this compendium of three essays, Gateway House assesses the potential for deepening economic cooperation between India & SCO, asks whether the SCO Charter needs dynamism and revision, and traces the roots of the regions's Buddhist presence, back to India.
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In November this year, India will be hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO) exhibition “Shared Buddhist Heritage” to coincide with the SCO Council of Heads of Government Meeting and two Ministerial Level Meetings. This paper recommends a theme on India’s Buddhist legacy in the SCO, which ties together three important Buddhist historical narratives (based on archaeological evidence), that can add heft to India’s leadership in reviving people-to-people ties through Buddhism amongst the eight member nations
The expansion in membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an opportunity to review, possibly revise and widen the scope of its Charter to make it more suited to address the concerns of all its members, including new ones like India. This paper recommends what the changes in the SCO Charter ought to be by comparing it with the successful ASEAN charter.
India will host the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government on 30 November 2020. This will be the first meeting of the grouping’s second highest organ, hosted by India. The significance of the event lies in the timing – India’s relations with two fellow memberstates, China and Pakistan, are at an exceptionally low ebb; yet the clear message from the SCO Secretariat and other member-states is: India’s presence in the SCO is highly beneficial to the latter and should be fully leveraged to strengthen it as an important and upcoming intergovernmental organisation. This necessitates a fresh appraisal of options for India.
Now that the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting has ended, Indian officials are preparing for a hectic season of summiteering in November, from the SCO to the BRICS and the G20. All will give India global attention, and help the country prepare its positioning at home and abroad.
The record of regional cooperation on rivers since India's independence in 1947 is one of several successes, with some contestations. In contrast to the past when governments strove to divide and share river waters, the endeavor has now shifted to thinking about comprehensive river basin development which makes the process even more complex. India’s policy on transboundary river governance must now also be aware of the increasing importance of Indo-Pacific in the global geopolitics.
The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.
On 18th August, Pakistan announced wide-ranging restrictions on prominent anti-India terrorist leaders. These steps are clearly aimed to prevent Pakistan from slipping into the black list of the Financial Action Task Force, where Pakistan is already grey-listed. Their implementation remains key as in the past, Islamabad's global anti-terrorism commitments have been abandoned once global scrutiny of its support to terrorist infrastructure, decreases or is distracted.
Pakistan’s recent claims on Junagadh is a response to its frustration that the big powers and Islamic world have failed to respond to India’s unilateral action in revoking Article 370 and incorporating Ladakh and Kashmir under New Delhi’s federal control. But the continuing claim is only damaging to Pakistan’s cause.
On 30th June, 2020 Gateway House in association with Konrad-Adeneur-Stiftung (KAS) co-hosted a webinar on Indo-Pacific: New Geo strategic reality.