On July 10 2015, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in the Russian city of Ufa, India and Pakistan were formally inducted and given full membership. The SCO, which also includes the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, is widely viewed as a platform for Moscow and Beijing to project influence in the region. With Iran also waiting to join, SCO will eventually control around a fifth of the world’s oil and represent nearly a half of the global population.
The allure of cheap energy combined with access to markets of Central Asian states underpinned by a security architecture provided by Russia and China gives both New Delhi and Islamabad impetus to do business with SCO member states and gain a foothold in the region. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The time has come to reach out across the region. We have everything we need to succeed.”
As for Beijing and Moscow, SCO is part of a broader plan to challenge America’s primacy in the world. This was echoed in a statement issued by the group: “The evolution of the SCO is taking place at a complicated stage in the development of international relations and amidst the emergence of a multi-polar world. These processes are accompanied by increasing security challenges and threats, increasing uncertainty and instability in various regions of the world.”
Other elements of the plan include fostering strong economic ties between the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) with the aim of competing with pro-American trade organisation like ASEAN, TTP etc. as well as circumventing US imposed sanctions against Russia. At the recent BRIC summit, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “[BRIC] illustrates a new polycentric system of international relations demonstrating the increasing influence of new centres of power.”
Then there is Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) established by China, which is aimed at undermining the influence of America exerted through the IMF and World Bank. Already 57 countries have signed up, including European countries like Britain, France, Germany and Italy. The Whitehouse National Security Council disturbed by the rapid popularity of AIIB said, “The international community has a stake in seeing the AIIB complement the existing architecture, and to work effectively alongside the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.”
It is against this backdrop that the inclusion of India and Pakistan in SCO must be understood. Both Russia and China believe that by including the two nuclear powers they will accomplish the following objectives:
- Compete effectively with America for the control of Eurasia and the subsequent domination of the world.
- Neutralize the threat of nuclear weapons and undermine America’s plan to use India and Pakistan as frontline states in a nuclear war between US, Russia and China.
- Control of the natural resources of the Muslim world, which includes oil, gas and coal.
- Domination of all energy transit routes as well as trade routes like the new Silk Road project proposed by China.
- Last but most importantly of all to subdue the Muslim populace in the region and curb all of their efforts to re-establish the rightly guided Caliphate.
The US maybe at odds with Russia and China but is not overtly perturbed by Pakistan and India joining SCO. This is because both countries have pro-American governments and this provides the US with many opportunities to scuttle any ambitions SCO may have to limit Washington’s influence. Nevertheless, Beijing and Moscow are confident that Islamabad and India can be won over, thereby displacing American primacy in Eurasia.
It is sad to see foreign powers deciding the fate of Muslims in Central Asia and the Sub-continent— as if they were fodder for dumb cattle. Muslims for centuries ruled over these lands and now find themselves at the mercy of a power struggle between major powers.
This can change easily. What is required is for Muslims of the region to re-establish the rightly guided Caliphate upon the method of the Prophethood. The new State armed with nuclear weapons, in control of abundant energy-supplies and transit routes will emerge as a super-power over night, relegating China, Russia and America to the periphery of history. Muslims, once footnotes in 21st century historical events will quickly become the new authors of world affairs.
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ
“It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, even though the mushrikeen dislike it.”
Abdul Majeed Bhatti