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Challenges Ahead for Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Tensions between India and Pakistan threaten to destabilize the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an expert says

By Han Bingbin Updated Dec.6

Tensions between India and Pakistan are challenging the cohesion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which both are official members, says Sun Zhuangzhi, secretary general of the SCO research center at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.  

In an opinion piece for Haiwainet.cn, an opinion site run by the Party newspaper the People’s Daily, Sun said irreconcilable differences between SCO member states were holding back the multilateral scheme. Despite progress in mutual military trust and counterterrorism, the scheme is less effective at promoting economic cooperation because of the varying developmental levels and strategic priorities of member states, Sun said.  

The SCO has provided an alternative approach for member states to discuss and resolve disputes through a series of principles designed to ensure equal dialogue, Sun said. But there were questions about whether these were enough to hose off long-running tensions between China's large western neighbours, Sun wrote. 

India’s scepticism towards the Belt and Road Initiative and the relatively low rank of the official India sent to the SCO’s most recent meeting in Russia say much about the nation's estrangement from the organization. The SCO also faces serious geopolitical challenges from the US and Japan trying to team up with India to contain China’s rise, Sun claimed.