Below could be a help in what you did and what you didn’t read from the SCO Summit in Samarkand (September 15-16, 2022) this morning.
- What you’ve read is a lament on no mention of UN Charter (Indian Express) in the Samarkand Declaration: That is, an attempt to show this as a renegades’ pow-wow against the global order.
Well, this “global order” hasn’t sent its peacekeepers in the war zones of Ukraine, to keep belligerents apart and civilians alive. Nor we’ve been educated if the US really has biolabs in Ukraine or if the weapons supplied to the Kiev regime by over 40 countries involve “prohibited” weapons in the checklist of UN.
- We are told with certain glee that prime minister Narendra Modi ignored China’s XI Jinping or that there was no cheer from India on its core BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) policy.
Well, I don’t know how Xi’s words that China seeks “dialogue between civilisations and seek common ground while shelving differences” should be read but in India’s context. And how could support to BRI come when it passes through the contentious PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir)?
And in case you are still spending time on the supposed cold vibes between Modi and Xi, it would do well to remember Indian prime minister highlighting the “unprecedented energy and food” problem partly due to the “Ukraine Crisis” which I am sure we all know is not caused by the Beijing but by the massive US sanctions on Russia.
- You might have read Modi emphasizing on 30% GDP and 40% population in the ambit of SCO members but it’s also gainful to remember that world’s largest energy reserves as well as major energy-consuming nations were present in Samarkand.
- What you mustn’t have read is that SCO members as one wanted “all parties” to comply with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal which the US, an original signatory, left in 2018 to slap sanctions on Iran. Now the US is back on the negotiation table, looking ways to revive the nuclear deal but marathon talks have led nowhere.
- Or for that matter that it’s not just Russia (Rubles), China (Yuan) or India (Rupee) but also Turkey (Lira) which is looking for trade in mutual currencies.
- Or that the members have begun a process to admit Belarus to the SCO. Or in case you missed, Iran was formally anointed as ninth member of the grouping and was the star of the show.
- Or when XI said in his address that the SCO would work to prevent outside forces (read US/NATO) from organising Colour Revolutions (coups) in their countries. Xi also mentioned China and Russia as “responsible global powers”—implied the other is not—against a unipolar worldview.
- Or that this so-called regional grouping is now increasingly looking international: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt will formally become SCO dialogue partner; negotiations would be held in granting Bahrain, the Maldives and other states’ on a similar status.
- Or that Iranian president Ebrahim Raeisi, whom Modi met for a private session, has called on SCO member states to adopt new approaches to confront the US’ unilateralism and “cruel sanctions”.
The Big Picture
Try to look at the big picture this way: Trade requires infrastructure and transit corridors and “indivisible security” which the SCO members have committed themselves to: Expect Eurasia to buzz with networks in the making from Indian Ocean to Sea of Oman to Persian Gulf to Caspian Sea and even beyond.
“Indivisible security” could be easily understood for Azerbaijan vs Armenia would still be fresh in mind even if Kazakhstan (January) or eruptions in Tajikistan (May), Uzbekistan (June) is a distant memory.
All this would require financial transactions which are in works despite the sanctions on Russia. An Eastern Commodity Exchange could well be established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in Asia- Pacific.
All this is a vision of a multipolar world—a multilateral trading system against unilateral protectionist measures.
It’s also certain that the pressure on the trio of China-Russia-Iran would now be exponential by the Hegemon: As it would be on India now that it refuses to tow Washington’s lines.
The approaching winter could well be a trailer to our world in increasing churn.