The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) could be a very useful platform for addressing the rising menace of terrorism and other challenges, according to an Indian expert.
A large number of SCO members, observers, dialogue partners and special guests to the meetings have been victims of terrorism, Professor Swaran Singh, who teaches diplomacy and disarmament at Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Xinhua in a recent interview. Without the international community coming together, the menace of terrorism will continue to cause havoc, he stressed. Since 1996, India has been working with the United Nations on adopting a convention on countering international terrorism, but that still remains a work in progress and has yet to achieve the desired results, said the Indian professor. “The SCO today has both moral and material leverages to take this forward and can generate positive synergies amongst its members including India and Pakistan,” Singh said. The two south Asian countries are the SCO’s newest members.
Besides the twin goals of the SCO i.e. countering terrorism and energy security, core challenges remain for both India and Pakistan, the professor added. Singh said that the SCO – the world’s largest regional organization – is a robust body that has hosted more than 120 events last year. The SCO also hosts informal summits, which are free of officials, advisers, protocols, agenda and expect no direct outcomes, are aimed at fostering stronger trust and understanding among the leaders to ensure bolder decision making, something needed to reform global governance processes and structures. China has emerged as a world leader in fighting protectionism and in supporting free trade. Most SCO members remain committed to ensuring free, open and equitable globalization, the Indian professor said.
The SCO members are faced with great challenges as well as opportunities in building complementary partnerships among energy-surplus and energy-deficient nations, Swaran said. “The Russia-China energy partnership remains a model to expand to other SCO members,” he said. The model is especially significant following U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the return of sanctions on Iran, resulting in a sharp decline in its oil production, Singh added. This has led to a sharp rise in global oil prices which is beginning to pinch nations like India, which hopes the SCO could help to redress the situation, he said. The SCO is also expected to play an increasingly effective role in addressing other regional and global development and security challenges that would require consensus and trust building amongst SCO members and other stakeholders, he added.