Shanghai Cooperation Organization to Take in India, Pakistan

Map of SCO: Gree: members; Light blue: observers; Dark blue: dialogue partners

Map of SCO: Green: members; Light blue: observers; Dark blue: dialogue partners

According to, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has approved new rules for taking in new members. India and Pakistan may join SCO next year.

A memorandum on member-to-be’s obligations was signed by SCO leaders at their 14th meeting in Tajik capital Dushanbe on September 12. The new rules will enable India and Pakistan to joint SCO at the next summit meeting of SCO in Moscow next year.

SCMP says in its report today on the meeting, “President Xi Jinping calls on ‘qualified’ countries to apply to be full players in the regional bloc”.

According to it, China’s CCTV quotes Xi as saying “[We] welcome those countries who are willing to, and are qualified to, to join the SCO to apply for full membership.”

Yesterday, Global Times published an article by Wang Haiyun, senior adviser of SCO Research Centre titled “SCO needs not hesitate in taking in new members”.

According to Wang, India and Pakistan are most likely to join SCO next year. Both of them are observers enthusiastic to join SCO as formal members. Pakistan has already submitted its application but India has not. Another observer Iran has also submitted its application. However, there has been UN sanctions in force against Iran, SCO cannot admit it as according to its constitutional document, a country sanctioned by the UN is not allowed to joint SCO.

Experts doing research for SCO differ in their views on admission of India as a member. Those who oppose the admission worry about the conflicts between Pakistan and India. As Pakistan is qualified to join and has submitted its application, it must be admitted into SCO. Then the conflicts will be a problem in admitting India as a member.

Besides, as India is too close with the US, it may affect the unity among SCO members when it is a member state. Moreover, the dispute between China and India may weaken China’s influence in SCO.

Those who support taking in India regard all the reasons of opposition as technical and operational.

They believe Admission of India into SCO will enhance India’s awareness of it being an emerging power and strengthen the cooperation among BRICS countries especially, China, Russia and India. That will turn SCO into a group of emerging countries. The profound strategic coordination among emerging powers will bring about a change in the serious imbalance in the international strategic situation and establish a new international order.

Admitting India as a SCO member may drive a wedge between India and the US so that the US cannot use India to encircle China. It will enable SCO to break out of its boundary of former Soviet Union plus China. When India, China and Pakistan are all SCO members India’s relations with China and Pakistan will improve due to intensified communications and efforts for mutual interests in the organization.

For China, India may join China in developing the Silk Road on the Sea initiated by China instead of opposing the Road for fear of China’s expansion into the Indian Ocean.

This blogger believes that if India joints SCO, the Russia-India-China alliance may become a reality.

For the four Central Asia members, India will provide them the use of its ports in Indian Ocean. That is very important for them as they are all inland countries without access to sea.

According to SCMP, Xi Jinping advocates closer cooperation among member countries to promote the group’s development.

Leaders of member states welcomed Xi’s remarks and called for more communication between member states and observers and greater cooperation between the SCO and the United Nations, and says that they signed an agreement among their governments on facilitating international road transportation.

Russian President Putin says that the agreement will boost the establishment of SCO’s unified road communications system that will link ports in the Yellow Sea and Russian Province of Leningrad. It will provide road links between Europe and western China. Putin’s plan will benefit all member states.

To deal with terrorism, SCMP says that Xi proposed to sign a convention to fight extremism in the region. He promised US$5 billion of funds for the joint projects in fighting extremism.

Source: “Expert: Admitting India into SCO benefits China: It may break US strategic encirclement of China” and “SCO approved new rules for admitting new members: India and Pakistan may join SCO next year” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)

Source: SCMP “China backs bigger role, membership for Shanghai Cooperation Organisation”


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