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SCO - block global giants, the threat of nuclear war and Russia's place in the organization
Material posted: Pankratenko Igor N.Publication date: 19-06-2018
With the Deputy of the Center for strategic estimates and forecasts, researcher of China's foreign policy in the middle East and Central Asia, historian Igor Pankratenko said about SCO, on the geopolitical issues between the major powers of this organization and its future.

– Igor, in the last week on the summit of the SCO was said a lot, wrote hundreds of analytical materials in the media published an destyakov interview experts on the topic, and including your. About the benefits of membership in this organization, about its growing role in the world and the impact on the economy, talked a lot. But I'd like to talk about something else – about obvious inconsistencies. For example, the SCO presents Pakistan and India, which are practically in a state of war. The territorial dispute between Islamabad and new Delhi will never find the solutions. How can they be full-fledged partners?

– Sincerely thank you for the question. Because in recent years there has been a strange trend – the SCO in writing or talking about how "fake organization", which, by and large solves nothing and a special influence has not. Or how about "the dawn of a new, multipolar world," a collective alternative to the West. Both performance, in my opinion, very far from reality. And Frank comes from a misunderstanding of the meaning and essence of the SCO, which were laid in the creation process and implemented in daily activities.

Moreover – and this is crucial – laid and are being implemented by Beijing. Since he, as it is not too pleasant for Moscow as it may sound, is the driving force and ideology of the SCO. And if we consider these "introductory" – the meaning of the Organization and domination of China, and therefore Chinese approaches to international politics, many of the "inconsistencies", as you put it, find a logical explanation.

Indeed, when last year the full members of the SCO became India and Pakistan, many experts, including me, said it will reduce the effectiveness of the Organization in addressing specific regional issues. But the summit would be held in Qingdao and we see that no such additional complexities in the work hostility, to put it mildly, between Islamabad and new Delhi does not create. No, Indian and Pakistani delegations, of course, in the arms there did not go, but spoke very constructively. What is even more strange, considering what difficulties are there in the dialogue between Islamabad and new Delhi outside the framework of the SCO.

Paradox? No – action those meanings and principles that work in the Organization. Beijing very carefully, not really flaunting his activities brought conflicts between States parties beyond the agenda of the SCO. Just as he does with attempts to involve the Organization in the conflict of some of its members with a third country.

In fact, the SCO is an open joint stock company, all joined in which Beijing says: "this is a project which will bring us profit. Want to get it – let us work on it. And your differences among themselves or with third parties – this is your difficulty, which our common project do not touch". In the end, India and Pakistan can quarrel, can interfere in many areas – but in this particular project, agreeing on the SCO is quite capable of working together or at least find some common ground.

The problem between India and China. We know that between the two States had a border conflict, Sino-Indian border conflict 1962 Sino-Indian border conflict in 1967... And in 2017 China and India, two giants nearly collided heads when the Chinese military entered the disputed territory on the border with India. In this political and military scenario – what kind of economic cooperation makes it possible to speak in General between these countries?

– I think that no one has illusions about the fact that China and India are competitors, in politics, in the economy, in expanding its influence from South Asia and to Africa.

Moreover, the concept of the "Indo-Pacific", which has captured the minds of the Indian establishment, the concept, which can be realized only in cooperation with the United States, Japan, Australia, and others, to put it mildly, wary relating to China countries only adds this competitive edge. Like, fair to say China's initiative of "Belt and Road", which the Indian side tend to consider it only as a manifestation of the expansion of Beijing. Where new Delhi is ready to withstand more than tough and not particularly shy in the media, we should remember that, as someone of Indian intelligence in Pakistan's Balochistan recruits to "create problems" in the area of China-Pakistan economic corridor.

Naturally, this causes grave concern to Beijing. A large-scale conflict with new Delhi, China and XI Jinping now is absolutely not needed. And therefore, his personal efforts, in particular the meeting with modi, and the involvement of India in SCO should be viewed not so much as an attempt to establish a kind of partnership and economic cooperation, as the desire to create additional grounds for negotiations on reducing the intensity of competition between the two countries. And to develop some General "rules of the game" in the rivalry between Beijing and new Delhi. Until, I suspect, the division of spheres of influence in the same South Asia. At least – time, and common projects of the SCO.

The eternal intensity of the situation in East Turkestan populated by ethnic Uyghurs and Kazakhs, from which constantly comes to warning signals. China periodically spends a punitive operation, has a policy of assimilation, resettled from the Eastern provinces, hundreds of thousands of Chinese in Eastern Turkestan, aka Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region of China. As such Turkic countries like Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan can be strategic partners aggressive yellow dragon?

– Probably, every Plurinational state of "East Turkestan". In this case, all complicated by the fact that, first, it is a Muslim enclave exists in an atheistic country. Moreover, activities of separatist and terrorist underground single day did not stop there since the establishment of the PRC in 1949.

And no matter how hard the Chinese authorities, and tried a lot and everything, but to achieve full integration of this area in China so far. Here the Abbot of the Shaolin temple is a member of the highest authority of China – vsekitajsky meeting of national representatives, and spiritual leaders of the Turkestan this Symphony with the authorities can not reach. Oh and after the appearance of al-Qaeda, the "Islamic state", after the whole groups of people from Xinjiang who are fighting in Syria – the question for Beijing is especially acute. Moreover, the neighborhood is strategic for Western routes "Belt and Road". Therefore, the Chinese authorities began to "beat on the areas" with the aim of denying terrorists and separatists social base. To act very tough, big and not really bothered with issues of morality and individual approach. This typical "fog of war" and "the end justifies the means".

How effective are the measures, how they will help in the fight against Islamic radicalization of China – talk is premature. As for Turkey's position, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyzstan – then you need to consider that one thing – persecution on grounds of religion and national identity, as it sometimes happens in the real world and the other – the fight against terrorists and separatists, as is China. That is, Ankara, Astana, Bishkek, Islamabad and other partners for the Beijing SCO practice now is very differentiated approach. Because for them terrorism and separatism – a fairly acute problem. That have their own underground and quite tight working contacts with the military wing of the "Islamic movement of East Turkestan" – for any special services not a secret.

Among the countries that have submitted an application for membership in the SCO, Azerbaijan and Armenia, also in a state of war. That can give SCO those tiny warring countries, if the giants of this organization, ready at any moment to start a nuclear war with each other?

In any case, Baku SCO is an additional economic development opportunities in the framework of the "Belt and Road". Let me remind you that the Asian infrastructure investment Bank (AIIB, eng. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB), one of the main financial instruments of the SCO, has invested $ 600 million in the project TRANS-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP). And this is not the only project in Azerbaijan which is willing to engage Beijing through the SCO, "Central transport corridor".

Interested if the Azerbaijani side in the development of their economic potential and increase its own weight to geo-Economics, which is possible through pairing with the projects of the SCO? The question, I think, is rhetorical.

But the likelihood that the Organization will somehow engage in the subject of the return of the occupied Azerbaijani territories is necessary to exclude completely, and not to feed for this reason there is no hope. The "Shanghai spirit", which they say, and the principles of the SCO determined by Beijing such actions do not provide, as already mentioned above.

– How SCO can compete with EU and NATO on the background of all these acute and global problem which exist between the leading States of the block?

– I allow myself to respond to inquiries. And SCO is going to do in the foreseeable future to compete with the EU or NATO? You know, there's all this talk about the SCO as an alternative to the West, as some kind of "anti-NATO" – they come from the region's geopolitical fantasies. Of the current membership of the SCO member States in Moscow only dreams of a "multipolar" axis "Russia-India-China" resistance to the West, and similar chimeras. The same Beijing and new Delhi come to the question much more pragmatic – first, we need to solve the issues of their own development, and – in all spheres, to determine its place in the regions of presence. And only then, maybe, someday – to put a more global goal. And nobody is thrilled by juggling with figures – Ah, let's see how much of the territory now covers SCO, Ah, how many of the world's population lives in States parties, uh, what's their combined GDP. Because think of several other categories that more adequately represent their abilities. Well demonstrate the best understanding of the laws of international relations.

Summit in Qingdao very clearly demonstrated that Beijing and most of the SCO member States aim to exclude from their cooperation in the framework of the military-political component. High – cooperation in law enforcement. Well, in the fight against terrorism, since this is a global trend. And then there are nuances. The same Beijing – it is essential to create the most favorable conditions for the development of its own economy, rather than confrontation, with someone. Yes, in principle for a issues, in defending their interests, the Chinese leadership and "grin show", and the conflict is not afraid to go. But only in a very limited sphere, and only on the basis of their own interests.

So – let's leave the fantasy of some geopolitical goal of the SCO to their authors. In the foreseeable future, the Shanghai cooperation organization will focus on solving very specific task – the implementation of key elements of the initiative "Belt and Road". Not distracted by the pursuit of abstractions.

Interviewed By: Caucasus Lobster


Tags: Russia , China , SCO

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