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Samarkand SCO summit: World’s eyes will be on Putin-Jinping, but India has a good chance

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Strong points

The eyes of the world will be on the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
Russia and China have reduced the reach by a third to expand their reach in Central Asia.
Despite the friendship, Putin would not want Russia to be seen as a “junior partner of China” in the region.

SCO New Delhi. The 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit will be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from September 15-16, 2022. It will be the first summit after the last two virtual summits that leaders of member countries will directly attend. This time, the SCO summit is important. Due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and China-Taiwan tensions, the eyes of the world, including the United States, will be on the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Despite this, India will also have a great opportunity to increase its strategic reach in Central Asian countries.

However, Russia’s historical ties and China’s BRI initiative have already significantly reduced the ability of a third party to expand its reach in Central Asia. However, despite all this friendship, Russian President Putin would never want Russia to be seen as a “junior partner of China” in the region. The main reason for Beijing’s interest in this area is related to energy supply. China has invested billions of dollars in oil and gas projects in Central Asia, including Uzbekistan. On the other hand, China also does not want to reveal that it is doing so to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. In such a situation, if Russia had more financial resources, it could have prevented China’s dominance in foreign trade in Central Asia.

Due to Russia and China, there is less room for third place in the zone
The Russian economy is expected to lag behind the Chinese economy in the coming times. While Russia has more power in the military field. Therefore, Central Asian countries will not try to join the defense alliance with China. For now, it will be interesting to see how Sino-Russian relations blossom in Central Asia. Will they continue to be allies or become competitors in the near future? Only time will tell. Either way, the Sino-Russian axis could hamper how India expands its influence in the Eurasian region.

America’s concern
SCO is a huge organization. It is believed that due to China and Russia uniting Iran, the SCO can be called an anti-Western organization. This is justified to increase America’s concern. 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, it can serve to achieve India’s goals. This will expand India’s sphere of influence in Central Asian markets and could reduce energy resource dependence on Russia in particular.

Foreign ministers of India and Pakistan at a table, Chinese-Russian foreign ministers also included in SCO meeting

The SCO meeting, a springboard for India
India can take the opportunity to use the SCO as a springboard or gateway to enhance and enhance its interests in the Central Asian region. It will be even better when India assumes the chairmanship of the SCO next year. However, China’s growing influence in Central Asia is a major bottleneck in this regard. To control China, India will have to adopt a more assertive and multifaceted diplomacy.

Keywords: India, SCO Summit, Vladimir Poutine, Xi Jinping

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