In the series Sansad TV Perspective, we bring you an analysis of the discussion featured on the insightful programme ‘Perspective’ on Sansad TV, on various important topics affecting India and also the world. This analysis will help you immensely for the IAS exam, especially the mains exam, where a well-rounded understanding of topics is a prerequisite for writing answers that fetch good marks.
In this article, we feature the discussion on the topic: ‘SCO-NSA Meeting’ .
Anchor: Teena Jha
- Alok Bansal, Director, India Foundation
- Major General Ashwani Kumar Siwach (Retd.), Defence Expert
- Major General S.B. Asthana (Retd.), Strategic & Security Analyst
Context: SCO-NSA Meeting in Delhi.
Highlights of the discussion:
- Common Challenges
- Countering China-Pakistan Nexus
- India’s role as SCO Chair
- Significance of Iran’s entry into SCO
- India hosted a meeting of the National Security Advisors of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries in New Delhi on March 29, 2023.
- India is the current Chair of the SCO and is holding a series of events which will culminate in the SCO Summit, which will be held in July 2023 in Goa.
- Pakistan and China attended the meeting virtually whereas, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Patrushev attended the meeting in person.
- The meeting also saw in-person attendance from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Priorities laid out by India:
- NSA Ajit Doval delivered the opening remarks, speaking about development, connectivity and challenges faced by the SCO member countries.
- India drew attention to the war in Europe in an indirect way and urged cooperation among member countries by asserting on the SCO Charter which calls upon member states to have mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity of states, non-use of force or threat of its use in international relations, and seeking no unilateral military superiority in areas.
- India condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and pointed out the growth of terrorism financing which is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
- Mr. Doval called upon all member countries to support relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. This hints at the roadblocks that India has faced in the past in its campaign against global terrorism because of frequent obstructions from China.
- India also reiterated its commitment to cooperate on investing in and building connectivity in the region. While expanding connectivity, India emphasised on importance to ensure such initiatives are consultative, transparent and participatory and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.
- This assumes significance in light of India’s consistent reservation to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- India also expressed its commitment to fulfilling our obligations under the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and for the inclusion of the Chabahar within the INSTC.
Common Challenges faced by SCO Countries:
- SCO countries have been affected by terrorism and extremism, with several attacks taking place in the region in recent years. The organisation is working to combat these threats through joint military exercises and intelligence sharing.
- Border disputes: Several SCO countries have ongoing border disputes, which have the potential to escalate into armed conflicts.
- While SCO countries are home to a significant portion of the world’s population, many of them still face economic challenges, such as poverty and unemployment.
- The SCO region is home to some of the world’s most ecologically sensitive areas, including the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. Environmental issues such as air and water pollution, deforestation, and climate change are major concerns in the region.
- The SCO region is rich in natural resources, particularly oil and gas. However, many SCO countries still face challenges in ensuring energy security due to issues such as ageing infrastructure and geopolitical tensions.
Countering China-Pakistan Nexus:
- India can manoeuvre its position in the SCO to focus on development in the region and overcome the China-Pakistan nexus by taking various steps.
- India can work towards promoting greater economic cooperation with other SCO members, such as by supporting initiatives like the SCO Business Council and the SCO Development Bank.
- This can help to create more opportunities for trade and investment in the region, which can in turn contribute to economic development and growth.
- India can also work towards promoting greater regional connectivity in the SCO, such as by supporting infrastructure development projects that can improve transport links and facilitate trade.
- This can help to reduce barriers to trade and investment, and create more opportunities for economic cooperation and growth.
- India can also work towards building strategic partnerships with other SCO members, such as by strengthening defence and security ties with countries like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
- This can help to counterbalance the China-Pakistan nexus and promote greater regional stability and security.
- India can also focus on cultural diplomacy to build stronger ties with other SCO members and overcome differences.
- This can involve promoting greater exchanges in areas such as education, tourism, and people-to-people contacts, which can help to foster greater mutual understanding and respect.
India’s role as SCO Chair:
- Since its admission to the SCO, India has firmly campaigned for the strengthening of collaboration on issues pertaining to regional security, defence, combatting terrorism, the illicit drug trade, etc.
- The SCO also gives India the chance to start global and regional counterterrorism measures as well as regional efforts to combat the illicit drug trade, which is currently being utilised by India’s hostile neighbours to do social harm and target its youth.
- For example, India can sensitise the SCO member countries on Pakistan’s narco-terrorism.
- In this regard, India can use SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) to boost cooperation and coordination for combating regional security challenges and information gathering and sharing.
- India can prioritise economic development initiatives during its chairmanship, such as promoting trade, investment, and infrastructure development within the region. India can also work towards facilitating the implementation of the SCO Development Strategy until 2025.
- India can encourage the SCO member states to promote innovation and technology transfer in areas such as energy, agriculture, healthcare, and education. This can help to spur economic growth and development in the region.
- India can work towards strengthening cultural and people-to-people ties within the SCO, such as through the promotion of tourism, education, and cultural exchanges. This can help to foster greater understanding and mutual respect among the member states.
- As the chair of the SCO, India can facilitate dialogue and cooperation between the member states on issues such as security, counter-terrorism, and regional stability. This can help to build trust and promote greater regional cooperation.
Significance of Iran’s entry to India:
- Iran is a key transit hub between South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Its entry into the SCO can help to improve connectivity between these regions.
- Iran has been a victim of terrorism and has been actively involved in combating terrorism in the region. Its entry into the SCO can strengthen the organisation’s efforts to counter terrorism and enhance regional security.
- Iran has been a longstanding partner of India and its entry into the SCO can help to strengthen India’s strategic partnership with Iran. This can create new opportunities for cooperation in areas such as defence, security, and trade.
- Iran’s entry into the SCO can help to balance against the China-Pakistan nexus within the organisation. Iran’s participation can provide a counterweight to China’s influence in the organisation and create more space for other member states to pursue their interests.
Read all the previous Sansad TV Perspective articles in the link.
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