SCO and Pak-India tension By News desk

Fareha Iqtidar Khan
AS per the charter of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the members of the organization ought not to have an on-going armed clash and should pursue the stabilization of unstable bordering areas, in order to maintain harmony. On the contrary, Islamabad and New Delhi have an on-going armed clash, compounded by mounting damages on both sides of the boundary in the contested area of Kashmir. Therefore, it remains to be seen the manner in which the approaching summit of the regional organization might turn out in terms of the continuing clash between the neighbours.
Islamabad and New Delhi have been blaming each other for backing terrorist activities. SCO could facilitate the resolution of the conflict instead of internationalization of the clash inside the platform. However, the new Secretary General of the organization has made it clear that the two states need to address their conflict bilaterally as the charter inhibits the full member states from bringing their bilateral clashes to the forum.
Following a suicide attack on Indian paramilitary police fleet in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir on 14 February, skirmishes between the two countries escalated. Pakistan was censured by India for harbouring the militant outfit that claimed responsibility of the attack. Pakistan however denied the allegations. Swift intensification of clashes amid New Delhi and Islamabad subsequent to the attacks has been a reason of alarm in the region in particular and the world in general.
New Delhi, adamant on retaliatory attack, allegedly undertook air strikes at Balakot in Pakistan on 26th of the same month. Islamabad responded by sending its aircraft for striking Indian army installations across the border. The people in the two states have also been calling for ceasefire and carried out rallies to show their dislike toward further escalation. Conversely, the states have rather aggressive stances toward each other ranging from violation of the Line of Control to Indian obvious disapproval of CPEC. Such a scenario presents limited scope for collaboration between Islamabad and New Delhi.
Islamabad has been on the look-out for outside intercession in the matter for quite some time. SCO provides the prospect for the two neighbours to work together and deliberate over matters pertaining to security. The allying powers of the two rivals are also a part of the organization.
New Delhi finds its ally in the form of Moscow while Islamabad has long been a partner of Beijing. Besides, the security dynamics between the regional powers of Beijing and New Delhi have also remained rather tense. The organization will allow the three to come together on a forum to deliberate over other security matters of the region. Continued escalation by New Delhi and Islamabad, both atomic powers, might give way to a greater conflict that may have extensive repercussions within the region of SCO. Thus, the organization needs to engage both the antagonistic states to get them to abstain from any more punitive actions.
The members need to maintain a certain degree of openness and mutual affability in order to allow the organization to play its role in handling matters pertaining to internal and regional security. Although Moscow and Beijing presented the option of utilizing the Anti-Terrorist Structure of the organization for neutralizing the strained ties between Islamabad and New Delhi, yet the manner of achieving the objective continues to be obscure. In the given backdrop, the summit in June will be a harbinger of SCO’s importance for the times to come. The organization has to come up with a concrete plan to tackle the situation instead of making unclear suggestions in order to gain credence in the global society.
— The writer is Visiting Lecturer, Pak Studies, Faculty of Management Sciences, IIU, Islamabad.

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