SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will offer India a full membership status to join Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as a full member state of the SCO, while, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia will remain as an observer state. The Indian government’s entry into SCO will offer further opportunities to work thoroughly on building peace and stability and fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Central Asian region.
Regional security threats and the largest energy resources in Central Asia are the major factors that drive India to apply for full membership at SCO. India, after China and US, is the third-largest oil importer in the world and according to the International Energy Agency (IEA); it will become the world’s largest oil importer by 2020. Thus, the Indian government attempts to reach the energy-rich central Asian states to end it’s energy crisis.
India’s membership in the SCO will not be only a superb opportunity for political and social development, but alsostimulate the Indians economic growth. It will influence the Russian-China oil and gas pipelines to be extended to India as well as to accelerate the implementation of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project.
To extend the Russian-China gas pipelines, it probably needs Putin’s pressure on China to draw its objective on India’s membership in the SCO. Similarly, the TAPI project needs further regional negotiation and investment in security and strengthen integration among the member states.
Islamic radicalization, terrorism, and drug trafficking in Afghanistan are posing a huge threat to regional security and increased concerns among the SCO states. It will not only affect negatively on the regional stability, but also it will be an obstacle toward economic integration among the south and central Asian regions. Therefore, the regional security, particularly Afghanistan after the planned drawdown of the foreign troops was the main theme at the recent SCO summit convention in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.Likewise, India is keen to deepen its security related cooperation in the region and looking for a collective and anti-terror mechanism among the SCO states in dealing with these threats.
As India is a victim of extremism,which has been led by networks beyond its border and threatens its interest in the region.Therefore, it has made a significant contribution to the economic development and stability in Afghanistan and the region. Joining the SCO would be a big step towards a powerful grouping to resolute a comprehensive regional and global action against the menace of extremism and terrorism.
The stability in Afghanistan is very important to India from different perspectives. As a strategic partner, India has invested more than $2 billion and owns the mining rights of three of the four blocks of the Hajigak iron deposits plus doing business through the Chabahar port with Afghanistan. Consequently, the energy security is an important matter for India and it will not bear the cost of doing nothing in Afghanistan and the region. Therefore, the Indian government is following different policy choices and team up with the SCO states, mainly China and Russia to protect its political and economic interests, promote regional integration, and stability in Afghanistan.
In conclusion, considering India’s chronic shortage of energy and thebusiness opportunities incentral Asia will benefit India from many frontsas the new member of the SCO. Similarly, as mentioned previously, it will team up with the regional stakeholders like China and Russia to fight extremism and build peace and stability in Central Asia and Afghanistan.All in all, the enlargement of SCO will affect the regional security and lead to better relationsamong the member states of the SCO as well as a significant reduction in the tensions between India-China and India-Pakistan.