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Virtual summit of the SCO to be hosted by India


Virtual summit of the SCO to be hosted by India

Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Photo: RIA Novosti/Reuters

India will host a virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) heads of government council today in New Delhi.

The SCO, a cross-regional security bloc made up of Russia, China and six other Central and South Asian states, has been plagued by disputes between its members ranging from trade to security issues. This summer’s border standoff between India and China remains unresolved, as does a history of contention between India and Pakistan, which has frustrated the organisation’s attempts at cooperation.

Both Russia and China are likely to use today’s meeting to coordinate a response to new sanctions from the US, though continuing Sino-Indian tensions may complicate cooperation. Given the meeting’s probable COVID-19 focus and India’s emphasis on scientific collaboration, the cost and efficacy of vaccines produced by Russia and China will likely take precedence in discussions.

Multiple SCO members have purchased technology to reproduce Russia’s vaccine—despite questions about its testing regime—and more will likely follow. The Chinese government has suggested that it may be willing to provide financial aid to other members for monitoring and treatment protocols. Beijing has also proposed the establishment of shared centres for disease control hotlines among member states, emphasising the need for cohesion in an unsettled period.

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