The eyes of the world will be on the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
Russia and China have reduced the scope for a third party to expand their reach in Central Asia.
Despite the friendship, Putin does not want Russia to be considered a “junior partner of China” in the region.
SCO New Delhi. The 22nd summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is scheduled to be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan from September 15-16, 2022. After the last two virtual summits, this will be the first summit in which the leaders of the member countries will directly participate. This time the SCO summit is important. Due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and China-Taiwan tensions, the eyes of the whole world, including the US, are on the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Despite this, there will also be a big opportunity for India to increase its strategic reach in the countries of Central Asia.
However, Russia’s historic ties and China’s BRI initiative have already greatly reduced the scope for a third party to expand its reach in Central Asia. However, despite all the friendship, Russian President Putin would never want Russia to be considered a “junior partner of China” in the region. A major reason for Beijing’s interest in this area is its energy supply. China has invested billions of dollars in oil and gas projects in Central Asia and especially in Uzbekistan. China, on the other hand, does not want to show that it is doing so to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. In such a situation, if Russia had more financial resources, it would have been able to prevent the dominance of China in the foreign trade of Central Asia.
The radius of the third is less because of the Russia-China region
Russia’s economy is expected to lag behind China’s economy in the coming times. Whereas Russia has more power in the military field. Therefore, Central Asian countries will not try to join a defense alliance with China. For now, it will be interesting to see how China-Russia relations develop in Central Asia. Will they continue to be allies or rivals in the near future? Time will tell. In any case, the Sino-Russian axis could stand in the way of India expanding its influence in the Eurasian region.
SCO is a huge organization. It is believed that the SCO can be called an anti-Western organization because of Iran as well as China-Russia. America’s concern is justified. Central Asia is an important geopolitical region for India’s aspirations to become a major economic hub. If India connects economically with other parts of Asia then it can help in achieving India’s goals. This will expand India’s sphere of influence in the Central Asian markets and reduce dependence on Russia especially for energy resources.
Foreign ministers of India and Pakistan on the table, Sino-Russian foreign ministers also included in SCO meeting
SCO meeting a springboard for India
India can take advantage of the opportunity to use the SCO as a springboard or gateway to enhance and strengthen its interests in the Central Asian region. It will be even better for India when it presides over the SCO next year. However, the growing influence of China in Central Asia is a major obstacle in this matter. To control China, India will have to adopt a more assertive and multi-faceted diplomacy.
Tags: India, SCO Summit, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping
First Published: 12 September 2022, 09:02 IST