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30-Sep-2022
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 International Political Scene is changing -  SCO: A counterbalance to Nato??

          At the 15th summit meeting of the six members Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), it was announced that initiation procedures would begin for two countries with current observer status to become full members. Those two countries were India and Pakistan.

          With their membership, the SCO is about to expand the vast territory and population under its membership umbrella as well as the organizations geopolitical heft.

          The addition of two countries will mark the steady evolution of a grouping that originally began as the “Shanghai five” in 1996. That grouping served largely as a forum for addressing border disputes lingering from the Soviet 

era.

         The rebranded grouping broadened its original mandate to include economic trade and regional security cooperation, with the latter primarily aimed at combating what the Chinese governments terms the “Three Evils”: Terrorism, separatism and (religion inspired) extremism. By and large this focus has created space for members to conduct their own domestic crackdowns against internal dissent – all while supported by SCO partners looking to shield each other from international criticism regarding human rights violations.

          At the summit the leaders articulated their views, consistent with their stated diplomatic      

objectives.    The two countries have observer status in the group, alongwith Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia. The regional pact comprises of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan 

and Uzbekistan.

          The summit concluded with India and Pakistan’s admission as members of the SCO. The leaders also visited Expo-2017, which is a 

flagship business and cultural event organized by the Kazakhstan government.  

          With the full membership status of India and Pakistan, there is a temptation to see the SCO as a burgeoning military bloc that may one day become a NATO antagonist.

          Certainly when taking into consideration the combined military capabilities of the SCO members, one might see the logic of such worries.

          A combined China and Russia military force would field 3.1 million active duty personnel, plus millions more in reserve, financed by a cumulative defense budget eclipsing $200 billion. Further, these two nations feature some of 

the world’s largest ballistic missile forces.

          With adding India and Pakistan to the mix, the SCO would present NATO with four nuclear-armed opponents, plus millions more manpower reserves and frontline troops.

          The SCO is a slick counter to the expansion of NATO. Russia and China are quietly forming a power bloc with more population then the west, vast energy and mineral reserves and an economy that’s growing at a wild pace.

          With USA and the European nations facing increasing terrorist threats and a weakening economy, the NATO is slowly losing its influence and power. The future belongs to SCO.