Iran joins the SCO organization as its 9th member.
SCO was built on the “shanghai Five” grouping of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which had come together in the post-soviet era in 1996 in order to work on regional security and terrorism.
In 2001 the Shanghai Five inducted Uzbekistan into the group and named it the SCO.
India and Pakistan joined SCO as observer in 2017.
Importance of Iran for India:
India has built its connectivity strategy through Iran’s Chahbahar Port, where it operates a terminal and through the international norm south transport corridor that goes through Iran and Central Asia to Russia. The entry of Iran in the SCO is an important milestone.
Iran’s presence ensures support for India’s move to circumvent land-based trade through Pakistan, which has blocked transit trade for India.
It also allows India to conduct trade with the region while staying out of China’s belt and road initiative.
The induction of Iran, a historically close partner of India that has suffered from terrorism emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan will bolster India’s push for an end to terror safe heaven.
Cause of concern:
SCO is seen as anti-west forum and Iran like Russia is under severe sanctions. US has withdrawn from joint comprehensive plan of action or Iran nuclear deal. The US has accused Iran of supplying weapons to Russia.
Thus, India faces the task of maintain delicate balance. India and US has elevated their partnership to unprecedented level of cooperation and trust. They have signed important technology and defence agreements.