The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit concluded on Friday but with no bilateral gathering among Prime Secretary Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping though they did sit next to one another as the leaders of the grouping took photos.
Delhi has signed to endorse the Samarkand declaration of the SCO summit, which did not make mention of the “UN Charter” while underlining “mutual respect for sovereignty” and “territorial integrity of States”.
In contrast to the last year’s SCO declaration in Dushanbe that stated that it was important to adhere to the “goals and objectives of the UN Charter” There was no reference to the UN Charter this time.
This is an abrupt departure from the position India has taken in the last seven months , since when the Russian invading Ukraine in the 24th of February.
In the past one year, India repeatedly invoked the UN Charter in support of “respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states” in the aftermath of an invasion by Ukraine.
In its official declaration in February, just a day following the beginning of the war, India said, “The contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.” In its most recent statement on September 7 India declared, “We continue to emphasize to all member states that the global order be anchored on international law, the UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states.”
The Samarkand declaration called for “commitment to peaceful settlement of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation” which is a language used in diplomatic negotiations like the one employed by India. The absence of the 2021 focus on the “rejection of unilateral military superiority in adjoining areas” stood out in light of the Russian military operations in Ukraine.
“The Member States advocate respect for the rights of individuals to decide on their own and democratically their own socio-economic and political growth and emphasize the principles of reciprocal respect for sovereignty and independence and territorial integrity of States equality, mutual benefits as well as non-interference in domestic affairs and the non-use or threat of using force are essential to the long-term development of international relations. They reiterate their commitment to a peaceful resolution of disagreements and conflicts among nations through consultation and dialogue,” The Samarkand declaration reads.
The SCO declaration at Dushanbe (2021 Virtual Summit) was as follows: “The Member States firmly adhere to the goals and objectives of the UN Charter and SCO Charter, the principles of mutual respect for independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, equality and mutual benefit, peaceful settlement of possible disputes through dialogue and mutual consultation, non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of military force or threat of force, rejection of unilateral military superiority in adjoining areas.”
The omissions are even more glaring as a result of China’s aggressive posture over Taiwan as well as in China’s territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
With the Chinese’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative, India stayed away -the same as last year.
“The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, while reaffirming support for China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, acknowledge the ongoing work to jointly implement the project, including efforts to link the construction of the Eurasian Economic Union and OBOR,” the declaration stated. The declaration was signed by all SCO members, except for India have signed the declaration. the declaration.
The summit was concluded without any private gathering with Modi or Xi on the sidelines. When asked about the meeting that was not held in the first place, foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said he did not “think there is anything more to read into that”.
“All the meetings that were scheduled and for which the requests came to us were factored in and all the meetings took place as per the schedule,” Kwatra declared.
In his speech earlier, Xi conveyed China’s congratulations to India for taking over the SCO presidency. “We will, together with other member states, support India during its presidency,” Xi said.
To further enhance the rich historical and cultural heritage of the population and the potential for tourism in SCO member states It was decided to name Varanasi to be the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital for 2022-2023. Samarkand declaration reads.
The language of the declaration on terror and Afghanistan was the same as the declaration made last year.
However, it did mention plans to create a unifying list of terror organizations. “The Member States, in accordance with their national legislation and on the basis of consensus, will seek to develop common principles and approaches to form a unified list of terrorist, separatist and extremist organizations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO member states.”
It stated that members have expressed “deep concern over the security threat posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism” in all its manifestations and forms as well as strongly condemning terrorist activities across the globe. The document also stated that members states are reaffirming their strong commitment to combating extremism, separatism, and terrorism as well as separatism and extremism, are determined taking active steps to tackle the circumstances that lead towards terrorists, separatism, and the “spread of terrorism, cut off terrorist financing channels, suppress terrorist recruitment and cross-border movement, counter extremism, radicalization of youth, the spread of terrorist ideology, and eliminate sleeper cells and places used as terrorist safe havens”.
The states that are members are reminded of the unacceptability of interfering with the state’s internal affairs under the pretense of tackling extremism and terrorism and the impossibility of using extremist, terrorist and radical groups to pursue selfish goals.
Regarding Afghanistan The declaration states that SCO members believe in the key elements in maintaining and enhancing stability and security in the SCO region is the swift resolution of the crisis in Afghanistan.
“They support the establishment of Afghanistan as an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free of terrorism, war, and drugs,” it reads.