‘SCO can help ease India-Pak. tensions’

China and Russia are aspiring to play a major role in resolving differences between India and Pakistan within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) — a move that both see as necessary to integrate the economies of Eurasia along the New Silk Road.

A commentary in China’s state-run Xinhua news agency observes that the inclusion of India and Pakistan in the SCO — a decision that was taken last Friday during the grouping’s summit in Ufa — will enhance the “organisation’s influence and appeal at the international stage”. It then stresses that the inclusion of New Delhi and Islamabad in the grouping will help improve bilateral relations by ironing out differences within the SCO framework.

Welcoming the two nations into the group, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “We know the background of the relationship. We hope the SCO will be able to facilitate a compromise between India and Pakistan.”

Analysts say any appreciable reduction in India-Pakistan tensions can boost the prospects of realising the China-driven Belt and Road project. The initiative is meant to integrate the economies of Eurasia through the establishment of physical and cyber connectivity, energy pipelines, industrial parks and smart cities along a contiguous corridor.

Gwadar corridor

China and Pakistan have decided to establish a Gwadar-Kashgar economic corridor under the Belt and Road project, but India objects to it as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India has rejected the assertion, but Pakistan has accused New Delhi of aiding insurgency and imposing impediments in Baluchistan, through which the proposed corridor would pass. China is aware that an India-Pakistan rapprochement, by lowering suspicions, can contribute to the stabilisation of Afghanistan, benefiting the regional stakeholders including New Delhi and Islamabad.

On India and Pakistan, the Xinhua commentary says that apart from “mending fences between traditional rivals, the SCO expansion also bodes well for countering terrorism and extremism in the region, a key task for the SCO since its establishment”. Since India and Pakistan face the challenges of terrorism, separatism and extremism, their “future entry into the SCO will be a positive step for their domestic security, and will extend the anti-terrorism network”.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 7:10:25 pm |