The SCO, in spite of everything, is developing

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The SCO, in spite of everything, is developing 21.05.2019 09:08


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is developing dynamically. In recent weeks, many representatives of the military and political elite of member countries have addressed the subject of this international structure, talking about security issues. In addition, certain important events took place as part of the work of this organization. For example, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that “the SCO is a dynamically developing interstate union that plays an increasingly important role in international affairs.” “Today, the SCO is demonstrating an example of close cooperation in order to form a polycentric world order based on equal and indivisible security, mutual respect and consideration of the interests of all states, adherence to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and international law,” Shoigu said in Bishkek at a meeting of defense ministers member states of the SCO.

The Minister also noted that the prospects for the development of the military-political situation in the world and the ways to ensure its stability were widely discussed at the Eighth Moscow Conference on International Security held a few days ago. “I would like to note the personal participation in the conference of the ministers of defense of Belarus, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and the SCO Secretary General,” Shoigu said, noting that peacekeeping remains the key priority of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

According to his assessment, an expert working group formed last year at a meeting of SCO defense ministers formed in this direction effectively. “In a short time, it became a popular platform for thematic briefings and discussions. The Glossary of terms and definitions, prepared by the group and presented today, reflects our common views on solving problems in the field of security, creates an agreed basis of terminology. We consider it expedient to develop this cooperation mechanism and fill it with practical content. To this end, it is proposed to draw up a list of the most pressing security issues for the defense ministries of the Organization's member countries and prepare a roadmap for their solution, ”Shoigu said.

An important innovation contributing to the deepening of cooperation within the framework of the SCO and the stabilization of regional security was the signing in April of a protocol on amending the agreement on holding joint SCO military exercises. The value of this document is difficult to overestimate. It will allow India and Pakistan to participate in joint military and counter-terrorism exercises.


Many pressing issues of international cooperation were discussed at meetings of defense ministers of the SCO countries. A plan of defense cooperation for 2020–2021 was approved.

From the point of view of security, the most pressing issue at the moment is the problem of relations between India and Pakistan - new members of an international organization. And it seems that it is the SCO that is able to find the most acceptable compromise search mechanisms for both countries. After all, not only the whole region of Southeast Asia, but also Central Asia, the Middle and Middle East could be potentially affected by the conflict of two giants. Finally, the situation in Afghanistan can also be destabilized by the Indo-Pakistani conflict.

The aggravation of the Indo-Pakistani conflict has complicated the situation in Eurasia. The first blood of tension was shed on February 14, when a Pakistani terrorist group banned by the UN committed a terrorist attack on the Indian part of Kashmir. By the end of February, the situation became even more tense; two Indian and one Pakistani planes were shot down. Unfortunately, the Indo-Pakistan conflict will not be resolved in the short term. However, by joint efforts and the authority of the SCO countries, tensions can be reduced and ways to stabilize can be found.

And, finally, the second, but no less important problem, to which the SCO should be involved - Afghanistan. Practically all member countries of the organization, including Russia, China, the countries of Central Asia and, already mentioned, India and Pakistan, have a serious influence on the Afghan processes. As is known, a negotiation process has been launched, in which official Kabul and representatives of the Taliban movement (prohibited in the Russian Federation) are taking part in one way or another. In addition, a considerable number of influential countries of the region and great powers are involved in the process. There are feelings that the SCO could play its uniting role in this very important track of world politics.

At the end, President Vladimir Putin supported the idea of negotiations with the Taliban. “Negotiations are being held with the Taliban. Perhaps this is inevitable, it is only necessary to understand the subject of these negotiations, to which they will lead. If there is a real force that controls a significant part of the territory, we must reckon with it, ”Putin said.

Pakistan’s attitude to the Taliban does not need to be mentioned at all. Islamabad is behind the creation of a radical movement and continues to support it to this day. In mid-December, Prime Minister Imran Khan supported negotiations and promised to assist this process. As for the other two players, India and Iran, they actually took the exact opposite position. Tehran and Delhi saw their opponents in the Taliban and opposed the idea of negotiations, but in recent months the situation has changed radically.

However, despite the differences, regional stability and a peaceful Afghanistan are needed by all major actors of world politics. And it seems that the SCO member countries, and the organization itself, as an institution, have not yet spoken its word in the Afghan process.

Summing up all the above, a number of conclusions can be made. SCO is developing. Yes, it is not fast, in some aspects it is completely chaotic, but progress is evident.


Georgy Asatryan, INF Treaty expert, president of the Syndicate Consulting Group