Issue Brief on “Analyzing India’s SCO Dilemma”

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India-China tensions are rising as, from global stage to regional forums and bilateral ties, their security dilemma is all too evident. The Eurasian platform, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), is another arena where their complex rivalry is evidently at play. Viewed from its contradicting and complex multilateral vectors, India stands out in the SCO family as well. It is the only Member state that does not support China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It also criticizes BRI’s flagship project which is a joint venture of Beijing and Islamabad: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).[1] India has consistently shunned all BRI forums stating the issue of “sovereignty” and “financial viability” for doing so.[2] In fact, New Delhi has been laying out a network of parallel economic corridors that aims to rival BRI and its offshoots. It is projecting its regional connectivity projects in SCO to counter Chinese influence and undermine CPEC. In the recent meeting of SCO’s Council of Heads of Government (CHG) as well, India raised objection on BRI and did not support this regional connectivity project. Instead, New Delhi has projected the International North-South Transit Corridor (INSTC) and India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) as better and viable connectivity projects in the region.[3] This raises a question as to why India is part of the China-dominated multilateral forums if it finds itself opposing the Chinese initiatives. 

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