India is all set for SCO membership; eyes NSG, too

NAYANIMA BASU New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in a file photo   -  PTI

With India, SCO will represent 40% of humanity, 20% of global GDP

India is going to officially become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on June 9, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the issue of India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

On Wednesday, Modi left for the 17th SCO Summit, taking place in Astana on June 8-9.

“This is a region full of resources, which is historically connected to India. It was politically very satisfying to become a member of this organisation. As for gains, the SCO has two legs — trade and economics — connectivity, transport, energy, banking and secondly fight against terrorism,” said GV Srinivas, Joint Secretary (ERS), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

India had been an observer of SCO since 2005. The grouping started taking new members from 2014, when India applied for membership. In 2015, during the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia, India was informed that it will be granted membership.

Thereafter, in 2016, in Tashkent, the country was apprised of the process leading up to its membership.

“At this meeting, on completion of the process, India will become a full member, upon which SCO will represent over 40 per cent of humanity and nearly 20 per cent of global GDP.

“I look forward to deepening India’s association with the SCO, which will help us in economic, connectivity and counter-terrorism cooperation, among other things,” Modi said before leaving for Kazakhstan.

The SCO was created in June 15, 2001 in Shanghai, comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

However, experts feel that while it is beneficial for India to become part of a multilateral platform, being spearheaded by China, there are bound to be some initial hiccups.

“There will be some clash of interest. While the rest of the membership will follow the Chinese mandate, India will not be comfortable in aligning its interest with China, especially in matters related to terrorism and other regional issues. Things will become more complex and interesting with Pakistan’s entry,” said Phunchok Stobdan, India’s former Ambassador to Central Asia, now Professor on Security Affairs.

According to Nandan Unnikrishnan, Vice-President, Observer Research Foundation, a foreign policy think-tank, this will become a significant platform for India to leverage geopolitical gains for itself, especially at a time when the world is taking a different turn under the Trump administration in the US.

Modi-Xi Meet

Meanwhile, Modi is expected to raise the issue of India’s membership to the NSG during a meeting with Chinese President Xi, scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

Published on June 07, 2017

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