_ Timofei Bordachev, Programme Director, Valdai Club Foundation. Ph.D. in Political Science; Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics. Moscow, 9 June 2017.
On June 9, six leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-states signed the decree on admitting India and Pakistan to the bloc at their summit meeting in Astana. According to Timofei Bordachev, Director of the Eurasian Program at the Valdai Discussion Club, the simultaneous accession of countries which are in a position of strong hostility between each other to the SCO demonstrates the diplomatic potential of this organization.
The accession of India and Pakistan to the SCO has profound and symbolic meaning, told Timofei Bordachev. “These countries are in a position of strong hostility. Their accession to this established regional organization demonstrates its diplomatic potential. Since both sides have agreed to join the SCO, some hopes have appeared that dialogue between them can take a more systemic form,” the expert said.
Over the past 12 years, India has had observer status in the SCO. According to prime minister Narendra Modi, New Delhi’s accession to the organization helps shift relations with other countries to a new level. Bordachev said that India’s accession should primarily contribute to further integration in the Eurasian space.
“Relations between India and China are uneasy. I think it is important to take these participants to a negotiating table to discuss positive and prospective agenda rather than hurdles to bilateral interaction. This is of great importance”, Bordachev said.
The SCO is a platform for India and Pakistan to establish dialogue. “This is the most important thing that the SCO can do for them. They are unlikely to be limited by bilateral agenda; they will jointly participate in the discussion of wider questions,” the expert stressed.
According to him, the SCO was founded to cooperate on security issues and alleviate potential conflicts between its member-states. This goal has been accomplished more or less successfully.
“I believe that after the accession of India and Pakistan security issues and diplomatic dialogue will come to the fore in the SCO”, the expert concluded.
After the accession of New Delhi and Islamabad, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization comprises eight states: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.