The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its stature in the modern world

Source: The post is based on the article “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its stature in the modern world” published in The Hindu on 19th July 2022.

What is the News?

Iran and Belarus could soon become the newest members of the China and Russia-backed Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO).

What is Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO)?

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Focus Areas: It includes education, energy, transport, tourism and environmental protection.

India and SCO:

India acquired the observer status in the grouping in 2005 and was admitted as a full member in 2017. 

Through the years, the SCO hosts have encouraged members to use the platform to discuss differences with other members on the sidelines. 

– For instance, in 2015 Indian Prime Minister held a bilateral meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister.

– In 2020, the Foreign Minister negotiated a five-point agreement with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Moscow conference in 2020. 

What is the reason behind the expansion of SCO?

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Why are Iran and Belarus joining SCO as members?

Iran: The Iranian leadership has often stressed that the country must “look to the East”. This is essential not only to resist its economic isolation (by addressing the banking and trade problems on account of U.S. sanctions) from the West but also to find strategic allies that would help it to reach a new agreement on the nuclear program. In other words, using its ties with China and Russia as leverage against the West. Additionally, it would help it strengthen its involvement in Asia. 

Belarus: The same premise applies to Belarus, which lent its support to Russia for its actions in Ukraine. An association with the SCO bodes well for its diplomacy and regional stature.

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