Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to hold foreign ministers meeting

Foreign ministers from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states will convene today in Moscow. As fresh border tensions between members

SCO meeting of foreign ministers

Photo: Luo Shunyu

Foreign ministers from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states will convene today in Moscow.

As fresh border tensions between members China and India have prompted New Delhi to exit the upcoming Kavkaz counterterror military exercises, the SCO’s goals have begun to drift out of the organisation’s reach. Russia is looking towards observer state Iran as a key actor in establishing greater unification within the SCO.

With the US exiting Afghanistan and the intra-Afghan dialogue promising to give the militant Islamist Taliban significant control over Kabul, strong counterterror cooperation has become a priority for SCO members. Tehran, which holds cultural and linguistic influence in Afghanistan, would provide significant support to this end. Furthermore, questions over India’s position within the SCO, the US ‘maximum pressure campaign’ against Tehran and growing Arab-Israeli ties have thrust Iran towards China and Russia.

Expect today’s meeting to stress the importance of maintaining peace between SCO states to present a strong front against global terror. Likewise, expect the SCO to applaud the upcoming intra-Afghan dialogue and emphasise the importance of Iran’s role within the organisation. It is likely Iran will rise to become a full member of the SCO within the next two years as the US presence in Afghanistan draws down. With Tehran’s admission, the SCO will likely begin conducting counterterror operations around Afghanistan with the aid of Iranian intelligence services and the use of blue helmets. Likewise, Iran’s participation would position Tehran alongside Moscow and Beijing, likely giving Tehran access to purchase security equipment from both.

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