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385 words - September 19, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
In recent years, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has put forward its ambitions toward expanding cooperation, playing an important role in international politics and strengthening stability and security in Central Asia.
When political "transition" was destabilizing Kyrgyzstan in 2010, the SCO member-states had stressed the need for more and better cooperation between them, so that they could deal with this kind of situations more effectively. Pursuant to the six-point proposal of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, financial and monetary cooperation was deepened in parallel with similar evolutions within the BRICS; and vitality of economic and trade cooperation was prioritized.
From a more global viewpoint, Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed last year that the SCO had managed to establish itself "as an authoritative international organization." However President Putin rightly assumed new challenges in global politics and the economy were to come, which materialized so far in a deceleration of economic growth, subsequently increasing fears of socio-economic backlash in the region. Moreover, to the detriment of the "Shanghai Spirit" featuring the pursuit of common development, the change of China's leadership has opened an era of unprecedented rapprochement between China and the United States.
As a result, if the SCO has still much strategic meaning for Russia's interests, it might have less importance in the foreign policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping who has made the bilateral relations with Washington his administration's very top priority. Nevertheless the security transition and the 2014 presidential elections in Afghanistan will likely give renewed relevance to the SCO of which a number of member-states would be directly affected by serious deterioration in the country's security.
Increasingly concerned about the challenges which may emanate from the developing situation, India sees the "SCO as an important body that can offer a credible alternative regional platform to discuss the challenges related to Afghanistan," said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid at the organization's 2013 summit in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan.
Though unanimously advocating a "political solution" in Syria, the SCO still seems more like another high-level forum than like an international organization. Simply put, the foreign policies of the SCO member-states, including Russia, are still shaped to a large extent by their bilateral relations with the US and the EU than by the relations between them.
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