NEW DELHI (AP) — President Vladimir Putin delivered an upbeat speech at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference, highlighting the unity of the Russian people amid the recent turmoil. Hosted by India via videoconference, the multilateral summit will be Putin’s first international meeting since the brief armed insurgency that rocked Russia. Timing is crucial, as Putin wants to show that the West has failed to isolate Moscow after its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Originally set up by Russia and China to counter Western alliances, the SCO has expanded its membership to nine countries by admitting Iran as a new member. The organization focuses on security issues in Asia and strives to maintain peace, stability and sustainable economic growth among its member countries. Addressing the Kremlin summit, President Putin praised the growing importance of the South African Cooperation Organization in international affairs and its contribution to peacekeeping operations, economic development and strengthening diplomatic ties between member states. He thanked member states for their support during the recent armed uprising led by Evgeny Prigozhin, head of the private military company Wagner. Putin has described Ukraine as an “almost hostile state” to Russia, accusing the West of prejudice in favor of Ukraine.
The summit will be an opportunity for Putin to reassert his control after a rebellion that sparked concerns about divisions within Russia’s elite. “The Russian people are united like never before,” he said, highlighting the solidarity shown by political circles and society at large during the failed uprising. With the war in Ukraine looming in the background, previous speakers at the summit focused on global challenges. In his opening speech, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not directly mention the conflict in Ukraine, but the threats to food, fuel and fertilizer supplies. Modi also indirectly criticized Pakistan and called on South African countries to take joint action against countries that use terrorism as a tool of state policy. Pakistani Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif defends his country’s role in the fight against terrorism, stresses the need to avoid diplomatic issues, and calls for regional stability through connectivity initiatives such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. rice field.
In addition to Russia, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and newly admitted Iran, Central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are also members of South Africa. Belarus will also join the organization.
In his message to the summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres recognized the growing global challenges and risks and called for a joint effort in the face of rising geopolitical tensions. Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of long-term peace and stability in the region and called for better coordination between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and other development strategies.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who recently visited the United States, had a phone call with President Putin to discuss recent developments in Russia. Prime Minister Modi reiterated the importance of dialogue and diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine. India has failed to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine and has abstained from voting on UN resolutions on Russia.
Despite the SCO’s expansion and diverse member states, there are potential challenges arising from competing interests and conflicts among member states. India and Pakistan have historically been at odds over the disputed Kashmir region, while India and China continue to face conflict along the disputed border. Moreover, Russia is becoming increasingly dependent on China as the Ukraine war continues, a development that could affect longstanding relations between Cold War allies Russia and India.
At the conclusion of the SCO Summit, President Putin reaffirmed unity and trust, saying that while Russia remains firm despite internal and external challenges, the organization will address regional security concerns and seek membership. It aims to send a message that it is striving to promote cooperation between countries.