Millennium Post

Not unexpected

Not unexpected

As expected, Beijing has dismissed concerns that tensions between India and Pakistan could disrupt the unity and functioning of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). As per the SCO charter, member nations cannot bring their mutual hostilities into the organisation, according to the Chinese government.

At a public ceremony, Indian Ambassador to China Vinay Gokhale called for enhanced connectivity and freer trade among SCO member states, with due respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Evidently, this was a reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which India alleges runs through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. It is important to state that both India and Pakistan may not hold as much influence in the workings of the SCO, as the organisation is dominated by great powers like China and Russia. Other issues will take higher precedence.

Besides, India's stated position is that disputes with Pakistan do not require third-party mediation. Beijing would also like to ensure that these differences do not overshadow proceedings at the SCO. "We hope India and Pakistan will strictly follow the charter of the SCO, and the idea of good neighbours, uphold the Shanghai spirit, improve their relations and inject new impetus to the development of the SCO," said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson earlier this month. There are some, who argue that having India and Pakistan in the same group could derail the SCO.

However, one could also take the position that joint membership could compel India to see Pakistan as partners in the fight against terror and vice versa. In the short term, this is unlikely to pan out. Over time, this may prove useful. How these dynamics play out remains to be seen. Beijing has laid down a marker.

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