Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, led by Russia and China, which includes the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, inducted India and Pakistan in 2017, and has become an important forum for India’s Eurasian neighbourhood.
Importance of SCO to India
Terrorism, regional cooperation and the future of Afghanistan were major themes at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Heads of State summit in Bishkek.
1. SCO membership provides India a vital counter to some of the other groupings it is a part of, balancing out its stated policy of pursuing “multi-alignments”.
2. It is a platform also for alignments on issues such as energy security, connectivity and trade.
3. With India indicating that it sees little use for SAARC, the SCO provides the only multilateral platform for it to deal in close proximity with Pakistan and Afghanistan, observer at SCO.
Relations with Pakistan
While the failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to hold substantive talks at the summit was marked, the occasion provided a setting for them to exchange what India called the “usual pleasantries” at the least.