China seeks to strengthen ‘solidarity’ with Russia, Iran, India and others

New Delhi – China’s Xi Jinping on Tuesday urged the leaders of Russia, Iran and other allied allies to strengthen ties and resist Western sanctions as Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders met virtually for a summit hosted by India. The Shanghai alliance encompasses a vast swath of the globe from Moscow to Beijing and includes about half of the world’s population when observer and “dialogue partner” nations are included.

Alongside Russia, China, India and newest member Iran, the other full members of the trade and security alliance are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. . Russian ally Belaruswhich holds observer status, was also informed that it would become a member at the next SCO summit.

Below are some of the main points made by the bloc’s leaders on Tuesday and what lies behind them.

Putin thanks his allies for their support during the “rebellion”

Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his Shanghai organization partners for their support during a brief failed mutiny staged by the head of Wagner Mercenary Group. Putin spoke via video link at the meeting, which was his first summit since Yevgeny Prigozhin ordered units of his private army – which has been a key part of Russia’s war in Ukraine for a year – to march on Moscow after accusing Russian military commanders of treason. and incompetence.

“Russia is resisting with confidence and will continue to resist external pressure, sanctions and provocations,” Putin said, adding his thanks to other SCO countries for their support during Wagner’s attempted coup, which he had previously described as a “rebellion”.

“I would like to thank my colleagues from the SCO countries who expressed their support for the actions of the Russian leadership to protect the constitutional order as well as the lives and safety of citizens,” he said.

China and Russia have stepped up economic cooperation and diplomatic contacts in recent years, with their strategic partnership only getting closer since Moscow invaded Ukraine last year.

China wants to “ensure common security”

During the virtual meeting, Xi “called for efforts to safeguard regional peace and ensure common security.” Chinastate news agency Xinhua said, adding that he had urged SCO member states to “strengthen their solidarity”.

China calls Biden’s remark about ‘dictators’ a ‘political provocation’

While China claims to be a neutral party to the Ukrainian conflict, it has been criticized by Western nations for refusing to condemn Moscow’s offensive, and accused by current and former US officials of support Putin’s war effort by buying more Russian energy and other goods since the start of the invasion.

“We must be very vigilant against external forces fomenting a “new cold war” and create confrontation in the region, and resolutely oppose any country interfering in internal affairs and staging a ‘color revolution’ for any reason,” Xi said, referring to popular pro- Westerners in Eastern Europe in recent decades, particularly in Ukraine.

“Strengthening unity” with Iran

Iran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a full member on Tuesday, with Tehran having stepped up diplomacy with friends and foes similar in recent months, seeking to reduce its isolation, improve its economy and strengthen its projects.

Iran helps Russia build drones for war on Ukraine, US says

Tehran’s membership will support “collective security…broadening ties and communications (and) strengthening unity,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said.

IranMembership will fuel concerns from some Western critics who worry about “Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran coming together, so there is a set of countries that are inherently anti-Western in their guidance,” said Harsh V. Pant, professor. at King’s College London. But he added that the SCO was not that organization.

“If this kind of axis is to be formed, it will be independent of the SCO, because Central Asian countries and countries like India do not see the SCO as inherently anti-Western,” Pant said. at AFP.

Security concerns over Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

During the summit, the leaders of the regions great rivals of India and Pakistan said their other neighbor, Afghanistanremained a major concern.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned of the risk of Afghanistan being used as a base to “spread instability”, while his Pakistani counterpart Shehbaz Sharif called for an “urgent reset” of international engagement with the Afghan Taliban leaders.

Since regaining power over Afghanistan when the United States and its allies withdrew in the summer of 2021, the radical Islamic Taliban movement has deprived women and girls of virtually all the rights they had acquired in the 20 years since they were ousted from power by the US-led invasion.

The group’s draconian policies and widespread human rights abuses have seen their de facto Afghan government all but cut off from most of the world, with millions of dollars in cash reserves frozen and a long list of sanctions in place. In the meantime, the situation of the Afghan people has deteriorated considerably, with

India’s Balance

India, which is also hosting the G-20 summit in September, is walk the diplomatic tightrope.

Uniquely, he is a member of both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and “The Quad”, a small cooperative group created with the United States, Japan and Australia to counter Beijing’s growing assertiveness.

Modi was welcomed to Washington last month with all the pomp of a state visit, and President Biden spoke of “two great friends and two great powers”.

But Moscow remains by far India’s biggest arms supplier – they have been allies for decades – and New Delhi has been an enthusiastic buyer of discounted Russian oil during the war in Ukraine.

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