India’s SCO membership unlikely in Tashkent meet

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018


India is unlikely to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) officially during its annual meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23.

“In this summit the process of India’s accession to the SCO will start with a signature on the base document, which is called the memorandum of obligations … There a schedule laid down for us to sign up the other documents that India needs to accede to. That will happen as the year goes by,” Sujata Mehta, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, said Wednesday.

She said since the last SCO Summit, which was held in Ufa, Russia, India had been in touch with the grouping to sign up all the documents that are required to be ratified before it can be granted official membership.

Mehta added that in order to be a member of the SCO, India needs to sign more than 30 documents apart from the main memorandum of obligations.

The present chair of SCO is Uzbekistan. The decision to induct India as SCO member was taken in Ufa, Russia last year.

“We have to commit to align our processes with what has been agreed by other member countries. We need to work out what we need to do … As far as India’s pace of accession at the SCO being a function of Russia, China and the four countries of Central Asia, I would say we see ourselves as following fairly flexible multilateralism. So we are quite happy to engage in multiple processes. We have been working with other members of SCO on several other fields,” Mehta highlighted.  

She also said there are talks of a specific SCO energy club emerging. She also said India will become a part of the regional cooperation on terrorism.

India association with SCO started from 2005 when it was inducted into this grouping as an observer for the first time. However, India has been eyeing its membership since 2010 when the moratorium on having new members was lifted. But India had put its application in 2014 when SCO started inviting them from new members.  

The grouping was formed in 2001 with a view to having a common regional agenda between the Eurasian countries on matters related to terrorism and security. There are presently six members of SCO – China, Russian, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.   

Pakistan and Iran are also waiting for official membership of the SCO.

NSG Meet in Seoul

Incidentally the SCO Summit is happening at the same time when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will also be meeting in Seoul.

Resultantly, Modi will be holding meetings with the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin to lobby for its NSG membership.

“Yes he (Modi) will be meeting the Chinese President, the Russian President and couple of others as well … It is really a coincidence that the NSG meeting is happening on the exact same days as the SCO,” Mehta confirmed.

However, she did not confirm whether PM will also be meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Tashkent. PM will be back on June 24.

Published on June 22, 2016

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