Expansion of Shanghai Cooperation Organization


    In News

    • Recently, Saudi Arabia joined Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a dialogue partner.


    • Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have  noticed the United States  withdrawal from the region and have moved to diversify security partners. In this process the countries have grown closer to China .
    • Recent resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi and Iran ,brokered by China and Iran about to become the newest member of SCO are to be seen in this regard.
    • The Saudi’s decision was also followed by  announcement by Saudi Aramco  which increased its investment in China by finalising a planned joint venture in northeast China and acquiring a stake in a privately controlled petrochemical group.

    Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:

    •  SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security, and stability in the region.
    • It covers 40% of the global population, nearly 20% of the global GDP, and 22% of the world’s landmass.
    • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was announced in 2001 by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, The Russian Federation, and the Republic of Tajikistan.
    • The SCO currently comprises of eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).
    • SCO Secretariat in Beijing and Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent are its two permanent bodies
    • India and pakistan became full members in 2017
    • The Chairmanship of SCO is held by rotation for a year among member states.
    • India and SCO:
      • The SCO  gives India the chance to start global and regional counterterrorism measures as well as regional efforts to combat the illicit drug trade
      • India can  use SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) to boost cooperation for combating regional security challenges
      • India can utilise the SCO to promote the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Chabahar Port Project (INSTC). A trilateral working committee was also established in 2020 by India, Iran, and Uzbekistan to collaborate more closely on the Chabahar port and other connectivity initiatives.
      • SCO can be used to pressure Pakistan to change its position and strategy on tying together Central Asia and South Asia. Pakistan has previously obstructed India’s interests by refusing to allow connectivity and energy projects such as The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Pipeline (TAPI) to pass through its borders.

    Saudi -China Relations

    • China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $87.3 billion in 2021. Chinese exports to Saudi Arabia reached $30.3 billion, while China’s imports from the kingdom totalled $57 billion.
    • Saudi Arabia is China’s top oil supplier. It makes up 18% of Beijing’s total crude oil purchases.
    • China and Saudi Arabia have come together after the USA  started ceding its influence in the middle east. The Russia-Ukraine war and Jamal Khashoggi incident have accelerated the process.
    • Economically too both the countries have resolved to accelerate the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030