Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the summit meeting of the China-Russia sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan this week. India is a full member of this alliance which has been created to counter the US dominance in Asia. At the same time, New Delhi has also joined QUAD, a group of 4 nations (Australia, India, Japan and US) formed by the United States to counter China's rise. Simultaneous membership of these two competing alliances is raising serious questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's real intentions and trustworthiness. Is this Indian policy shift from "non-alignment" to "all-alignment" sustainable?
|2022 SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Source: Xinhua
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a political, economic and security organization designed to counter US dominance. It was founded by Beijing and Moscow in 2001. Currently, it has 8 members: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran has signed a memorandum of commitment this week signaling its intention to join the SCO, underscoring the growing alignment between the U.S.'s top adversaries. India's participation in this alliance seems strange given its simultaneous membership of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD):
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to counter growing Chinese influence in Asia. India upset Japan recently when it joined the Russia-led Vostok-2022 military exercises held around a group of islands known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan -- a territorial dispute that dates back to the end of World War II, according to Bloomberg. India scaled back its participation in the war games -- especially staying out of the naval exercises -- in response to the Japanese objections but it left a bad taste.
Non-Alignment to All-Alignment:
The contradictions inherent in the membership of both of these competing alliances are already being exposed by Mr. Modi's large and rapidly growing purchases of Russian energy and weapons despite western sanctions. “India’s neutral public positioning on the invasion has raised difficult questions in Washington DC about our alignment of values and interests,” said Richard Rossow, a senior adviser on India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Bloomberg News. “Such engagements -- especially if they trigger new or expanded areas of cooperation that benefit Russia -- will further erode interest among Washington policy makers for providing India a ‘pass’ on tough sanctions decision.”