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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS: For India, the buzzword now is ‘all-alignment’

Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, Regional forums(SCO, NATO, etc)
  • Mains GS Paper II: Significance of SCO for Asia and India, effect of policies of developed and developing countries on India.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The visit to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan this week by the Prime Minister is certainly a time of lingering strains like Covid-19 or Ukraine war.
  • Book: The India Way(by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar): This is a game best played on the front foot, appreciating that progress on any one front strengthens that on all others.”(about alignment)

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

  • SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
  • It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
  • It was created in 2001. The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
  • On 17th September, 2021, it was announced that Iran would become a full member of the SCO.

Objectives:

 

 

Key present Issues:

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • The Russian war in Ukraine
  • Upcoming Chinese Party Congress
  • Floods in Pakistan

 

Balancing the blocs:

  • Balancing nature: India’s membership of the SCO and BRICS against its membership of the Quad, groups such as the I2U2 and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
  • Vostok exercise: India joining the Russian-led ‘Vostok’ Army Exercises along with China
  • SCO-RATS: Plans to host SCO-RATS (or the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) counterterror exercises
  • Pitch Black: The Indian Air Force took part in the Australian ‘Pitch Black’ exercises
  • Yudh Abhyas: The Indian Army is planning exercises with the U.S. (Yudh Abhyas) next month close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Values over interests: The western brand of a “coalition of democracies”, against a more Eurasian brand of a “coalition of common goals.

 

India’s stand on Russia:

  • Abstaining from voting against Russia: India has refused to heed pleas from the U.S. and Europe to endorse resolutions critical of Russia at the United Nations, and has most often abstained on voting.
  • Russian oil purchase: The Government has not only rejected calls to cut its Russian oil imports but it has also done the reverse.
  • Putin-led Eastern Economic Forum: India wants to further strengthen energy ties, building on the $16 billion investment Indian public sector units already have in Russian oil and gas fields.

 

Key Meetings:

  • Engagement with Chinese President: Latest round of disengagement at the LAC’s Patrolling Point (PP)-15 can pave the way for summit-level discussions at this point in the relationship.
  • Proposed summit with Iranian President: India is expected to pitch the Chabahar port terminal India is developing (Shahid Beheshti).
    • Iran will focus, in meetings with India, on restoring Indian imports of Iranian crude at the earliest.

 

 

Way Forward

  • Multi-alignment or “all-alignment: India’s participation in the SCO summit, and the Quad summit affirms Mr. Jaisankar’s prognosis: that “hedging” is the name of the game today, as India fights for its unique brand of multi-alignment or “all-alignment” with partners worldwide, without having to choose between them.
  • Important group for India: India considers the SCO as an important regional group to promote cooperation in various fields based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality.
  • More measures against terrorism: Despite the establishment of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), the SCO has not taken visible counterterrorism measures against the main threat facing its members.
    • There is a need for the Summit to play a central and coordinating role to enforce the Council’s sanctions against concerned entities.
  • Agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors: Samarkand summit is expected to have agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors and a roadmap for local currency settlement among member states.
  • SCO’s rising international influence: The significant round of expansion by inclusion of Iran and Belarus shows SCO’s rising international influence and that the principles of the SCO charter are widely accepted.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. What importance does it hold for India?(UPSC 2021)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)

  1. India’s participation in the SCO summit is a clear signal of pursuing multi-alignment with its partners worldwide. Critically analyze

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)