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Water resources. Tajikistan Politics Spirit of Shanghai. The main thesis of speeches underlined that at year-end the republic cooperation with the SCO countries came to a brand new level, and its further movement continues in conditions of good prospects.
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Its participants tried to objectively appraise the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in development of the young sovereign republic. Import from China is particularly increasing at a fast rate as compared to it increased Trade with the SCO countries is estimated optimistically. At present in commodity composition of Tajik export deliveries to Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan raw materials resources and foodstuff prevail. Whereas machinery and equipment, chemical products and natural gas are mainly imported.
In the economy of Tajikistan a discrete role is assigned to development of joint ventures.
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The number of existing registered in the republic joint ventures increased during by The SCO countries entrepreneurs take an active part in these enterprises creation. There is thus on the one hand Russia, obsessed with its security concerns, and, on the other hand, China which is more concerned with satisfying its immense energy needs arising from its exponential development.
The presence of Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, the Turkmenistan President, constituted a first and the two energy accords of major importance signed by China with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan two days after the summit, prove the complexity of the OCS. These accords openly encroach on the preserve of Russia.
The first ratifies the launch of the last section of the Chinese oil pipeline project that opens to Beijing the path of resources from the Caspian.
The second is more significant. It provides for the construction of a gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and China which, once in service, will make a tangible dent in the Russian monopoly on Central Asia gas resources. Energy can rapidly appear as one of the potential sources of differences of opinion between the two major powers of the OCS.
We will remember that it was at the summit Bishkek that the problems of energy security made a visible entrance. The summit of Bishkek allows us to confirm the recent evolution of the OCS. In its beginnings it was a more or less disparate gathering of independent states constituted as a club of dictators desirous of promoting trade and exchanges in Central Asia. It now embodies an important aspect of regional geopolitics and exercises a strong power of attraction over countries like Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan.
For the second year in a row, the annual summit of heads of state concluded with a status quo in the matter of enlargement, both in terms of permanent members and in the club of observer countries. The OCS does not seem ready to integrate new members, with the notable exception of Turkmenistan. Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, President of Turkmenistan, has in fact said that his country is ready to re-examine its decision to remain outside this organisation. No one seems to want to question their joining.
Aside from this possibility, there is slight chance we will see any other observer state follow suit. This is essentially due to the formidable disparities in terms of population, size, military power and economic resources which have, up to present, weighed heavily on the introduction of effective measures of cooperation.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Problems of Political Integration in Central Asia
The OCS cruelly lacks internal consistency and does not have capabilities similar to those of institutions such as NATO or the EU, whose members share a common ideal — a strong attachment to democratic principles — and to common security concerns. Problems of harmonisation in the legislative domain and in rules and standards have constantly delayed the application of numerous accords signed in the framework of this organisation.
The future of the OCS can be reasonably envisaged along two vectors. One, for internal use, is focused on bilateral relations: sales of arms, security, economy and energy — between China and Russia and their respective Central Asian partners. The other, for external use, is principally directed at the United States but also the European Union, which aspires, in the energy domain, to play a significant role in Central Asia. Paradoxically, the direct interests of the United States and of the EU in Central Asia reinforce the Sino-Russian rapprochement in a domain where Russia and Chine in reality have few common interests to share.
The OCS is fully aware of its present inability to guarantee on its own the security in Central Asia if the situation were to deteriorate along the border areas with Afghanistan. The refusal has to be explained by the lack of credibility of the OCS in security matters. The continual pursuit of an American presence in Central Asia cements the cohesion of the OCS, while conflicts of interest in the energy sector constitute a factor of division among its principal actors.
With Kazakhstan less aligned and Turkmenistan more inclined to follow its own path, the future Russian President and Gazprom have their cares to look after. It is all the more disturbing that most of the energy contracts have to be renegotiated by It seems that the energy questions should constitute a particularly promising domain for cooperation with other countries that are not members. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad made known his interest in entering such a club.
The same was true of Pakistan, whose Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khurshid Kasuri, reconfirmed the interest of his country in participating in regional energy cooperation. Even India, which has held back from the political and security initiatives of the OCS, seems to want to get involved in the organisation of meetings on the subject of energy. It is no coincidence that for the second year in a row it was represented at this summit by its Minister of Energy, Murli Deora.
With India and Pakistan now on board, and with Turkey and Iran waiting in the wings, the SCO could ultimately become a force the West must reckon with. The SCO has facilitated increased bilateral trade and investment between the two Asian giants as well as stepped up military cooperation, including joint war games consisting of land, air and sea manoeuvres.
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If both pipelines are completed as planned, the 68 bcm they will deliver to China annually would dwarf the 40 bcm that Russia currently exports to Germany today. Russia and China had previously come together as communist powers during the Cold War era in the s and 60s, when they were allied against the capitalist West.
Quantifying China's Influence on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Following the end of the Cold War, a China-Russia rapprochement began in the s, ultimately leading to the informal Shanghai Five group meetings that evolved into the SCO. Nye believes this new power imbalance was reflected in the gas deals, in which it is widely believed that China was given a low price only because Russia was so eager to sign the deals. In the new alliance, while China is driving the financing for the new infrastructure across Asia, Russia is seeking to retain its influence as the security guarantor in the region, maintaining its series of military bases in Central Asia, stepping up its arms deals, and continuing to lead its Collective Security Treaty Organization CSTO , a Russia-led security bloc of former Soviet countries.
This arrangement works well for Russia, which is eager to maintain its military clout in the region, and for China, which is reluctant to send its troops abroad but wants improved security. Some strategic differences have remained, however. For example, since , China has sought the establishment of an SCO Development Bank and a free trade zone for the region.
But Russia has blocked these efforts, fearing China would use such mechanisms to economically dominate the region. However, there are recent indications that Russia may be willing to accede. The SCO took an astounding step forward in June when it simultaneously added both India and Pakistan as full members. Some analysts hope that by having both countries in a new multilateral setting, it could provide possibilities for informal negotiations to finally resolve the border disputes that have existed since India and Pakistan became independent states in , just as the Shanghai Five group had made possible for Russia and China.
Others are less optimistic about such prospects. And for many, the idea of India and Pakistan cooperating on regional counter-terrorism efforts seems a bit far-fetched. India has long been a major purchaser of Russian military hardware and the two countries are currently partnering on the joint-development of nuclear submarines, fighter jets, and satellite technology.
India is hoping its entry into the SCO will help secure its future access to desperately needed gas and energy supplies in Central Asia. At the same time, China stands to benefit from its massive infrastructure investments in Pakistan that are a key part of its BRI initiative and will secure the connection between Central Asia and ports on the Arabian Sea.
Likewise, the smaller SCO members in Central Asia will also benefit from the entry of India and Pakistan as it means they are likely to be less squeezed by the overbearing interests of China and Russia.