Shanghaied into cooperating

Not quite

Andy throws the Siberian Light on Russian attempts to convince India to participate in its joint military exercises with China, under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

For China and India to become involved in a joint military exercise with Russia is a pretty far-fetched idea at the moment, I’d say…

I think this is largely wishful thinking on the Russian part, an attempt to draw India further into the SCO – it currently only has observer status – in an attempt to balance the influence of China. The suggestion really does little more than show the Russia feels it is in a weak position in the SCO and feels that adding in a third large power would dampen somewhat the influence that China has in Central Asia. [Siberian Light]

At this point, there is little reason for India to plug into SCO. While it needs to deepen bilateral engagements with countries of Central Asia, it would be prudent to stay out of a multilateral commitment. SCO is very much a vehicle that provides diplomatic cover for Chinese foreign policy interests in Central Asia. No scope, shall we say, for India at all.

4 thoughts on “Shanghaied into cooperating”

  1. Why no scope? Whether Russia feels manly or not, India is better of involved in SCO – at least more than an observer status. The strategic action (probably because of energy reserves) in the next few decades is going to be in SCO countries. Even if one were to unabashedly support India playing second fiddle to US, India would be better of providing a counter weight to China in this energy rich region. It is another issue that India has increasingly cut itself off geographically from central Asia by not claiming POK or by its worsening relationship with Middle Eastern countries that border some SCO countries.

  2. Chandra,

    They are Central Asian countries; not specifically SCO countries. Sure, India needs to engage itself deeper into the central asian region, but this does not require getting involved in yet another multi-lateral organisation like SCO. Unless they are tightly integrated (perhaps like the EU), there is little advantage of engaging such ‘groupings’. In the end, each country will make decisions based on its own interests, regardless of what SCO says.

    You’ve alluded to the relationship with Iran. I think that is pertinent as far as access to the Central Asian region is concerned. That remains a problem, but not sure how SCO can help solve it. India needs to take this up at a bilateral level with Iran.

  3. if any of you ladies or gentlemen live in the new york area – you might be interested in attending the foreign policy event listed below.
    my apologies for posting out of context.

    Asia Society cordially invites you to:

    The Future of U.S. Relations with India

    With Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns
    Under Secretary for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State

    Richard C. Holbrooke
    Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Asia Society

    In recent years, U.S.-India bilateral relations have undergone
    change and the two countries have greatly expanded cooperation on a
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    Ambassador Burns is at the forefront of formulating U.S. policy toward
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    Tuesday, October 18th, 2005
    11:30 a.m. Registration
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    Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
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    This program is made possible with generous support from the TATA Group
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