China, Russia, Pak. to attend SCO anti-terror meet in Delhi

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China, Russia, Pak. to attend SCO anti-terror meet in Delhi

Counterterrorism teams from Russia, China, Pakistan and Central Asian countries will gather in Delhi on the weekend ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Regional Anti-Terror Structure (SCO-RATS) meeting hosted by India from May 16 to 19.

Countries attending the Meeting:

  • Pakistan: a three-member team will attend meeting in India for first time since both countries became members.
  • China: a Chinese delegation may not be able to travel to India at present, indicating COVID-19 regulations, and a team from the Chinese Embassy would attend the exercise in its place.
  • India: an Indian team also travelled to Pakistan to attend the SCO-RATS exercises in Pabbi.

SCO Summit, 2023:

  • Expected Host: India
  • To be Attended by: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

“Friendship Border-2022”

  • Host: Kazakhstan
  • Attended by: the SCO member states

Importance for India

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  • Security
    • India through RATS can improve its counterterrorism abilities by working toward intelligence sharing, law enforcement and developing best practices and technologies.
    • Through the SCO, India can also work on anti-drug trafficking and small arms proliferation.
    • Cooperation on common challenges of terrorism and radicalisation.
  • Energy
    • India being an energy deficient country with increasing demands for energy, SCO provides it with an opportunity to meet its energy requirements through regional diplomacy.
    • Talks on the construction of stalled pipelines like the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline; IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline can get a much needed push through the SCO.
  • Trade
    • SCO provides direct access to Central Asia – overcoming the main hindrance in flourishing of trade between India and Central Asia.
    • SCO acts as an alternative route to Central Asia.
    • Economic Ties - Central Asian countries provids India with a market for its IT, telecommunications, banking, finance and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Geopolitical
    • Central Asia is a part of India's Extended Neighbourhood – SCO provides India an opportunity to pursue the “Connect Central Asian Policy”.
    • Helps India fulfil its aspiration of playing an active role in its extended neighbourhood as well as checking the ever growing influence of China in Eurasia.
    • Platform for India to simultaneously engage with its traditional friend Russia as well as its rivals, China and Pakistan.

Challenges of SCO Membership for India

  • Pakistan’s inclusion in SCO poses potential difficulties for India.
  • India’s ability to assert itself would be limited and it may have to play second fiddle since China and Russia are co-founders of SCO and its dominant powers.
  • India may also have to either dilute its growing partnership with the West or engage in a delicate balancing act - as SCO has traditionally adopted an anti-Western posture.

Exam Track

Prelims Takeaway:

  • Regional Groupings
  • SCO

Mains Track

Q. SCO has emerged as a key regional organisation in the Eurasian space. In the light of the statement discuss the opportunity for India to fulfil its national interest. (250 Words)