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[TH Article1] India's pivot to Eurasia Sandwiched between U.S. President Donald Trump's acrimonious public exchanges with other leaders at the G-7 (group of seven industrialised countries) summit (June 7-8) and the headline- hogging U.S.-North Korea summit (June 12), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO summit in Qingdao, China (June 9-10) attracted little international attention. Olt was the first SCO summit attended by India as a full-fledged member (t has been an observer since 2005.) OThe SCO grew out of the Shanghai Five grouping of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistarn and Kyrgyzstan- which was set up in 1996 to resolve boundary disputes between China and each of the four other members Olt admitted Uzbekistan in 2001, re-christened itself the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Olt admitted India and Pakistan as full members in 2017. OThe admission of India and Pakistan has expanded the geographical, demographic and and broadened its agenda to include political, economic and security cooperation. The SCO opportunity economic profile of the SCO, which now has about half the world's population and a quarter of its GDP. Its boundary extends southwards to the Indian Ocean.
Why SCO is important for India? The SCO's relevance for India lies in geography, economics and geopolitics. Olts members occupy a huge landmass adjacent to India's extended neighbourhood, where India has important economic and security interests Olts Central Asian countries border Afghanistan, Pakistan and China. OA narrow sliver of land separates southern Tajikistan from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. DWhen you have complicated relations with your neighbours, it makes sense to strengthen relations with your neighbours' neighbours. OWith Pakistan joining the Organisation and Afghanistan and Iran knocking on the doors for membership, the logic of India's membership becomes stronger. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the optimal development of India's relations with Central Asian countries has been constrained by lack of overland access through Pakistan and Afghanistan/Iran, because of political and/or security reasons. With new multimodal transport corridors now envisaged through Iran, there are again prospects of invigorating trade and investment links with this region (provided fresh U.S. sanctions on Iran do not stymie this effort)
In the formative years of the SCO, Russia pushed strongly for India to join it, to somewhat balance China's economic dominance in Central Asia. The Chinese were not responsive. OChina has since consolidated its energy and economic foothold in the region, where ambitious infrastructure and connectivity projects are envisaged as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Olt has secured the simultaneous admission of Pakistan into the SCO. India has to carve out a political and economic space for itself in Central Asia, alongside Russia's role as net security provider and China's dominating economic presence The Central Asian countries would welcome India breaking into this Russia-China duopoly. The India-Pakistan interaction was closely watched in Qingdao. OThe handshake and exchange of pleasantries between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain were noted, as also the absence of bilateral altercations. It allayed apprehensions, expressed in the run-up to Indian and Pakistani accession, that SCO deliberations would get bogged down by India-Pakistan squabbles. It also respected the etiquette of international organisations: countries join them to promote shared objectives, not to settle bilateral scores.
The India-Pakistan track DRussian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that harmonious cooperation in the SCO may pave the way for an India-Pakistan rapprochement, recalling that SCO membership had facilitated resolution of China's boundary disputes with Russia and Central Asian countries. Dchinese officials have also expressed this hope. UThe circumstances are not comparable. Ochina made substantial concessions to settle its boundary disputes with Russia and Central Asia, in pursuit of larger strategic and economic objectives in the region. DIndia-Pakistan differences extend well beyond a boundary dispute, flow from different historical circumstances and are located in a different geopolitical environment.
Then how can SCO can contribute in improving Indo-Pak relations The SCO will, however, nudge both countries to cooperate in sensitive areas OOne example is the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO, which coordinates cooperation for security and stability, through intelligence-sharing on criminal and terrorist activities India and Pakistan, which exchange mutual recriminations in such matters, have to find ways of cooperating in the RATS ODefence cooperation is another tricky area: enhanced linkages between armed forces is an ScO objective. India has agreed to participate in the SCO's counter-terrorism military exercises in Russia later this year, when Indian and Pakistani troops will operate together. Reconciling Indian and Pakistani perspectives in the SCO's initiatives on Afghanistan would be yet another challenge.
The expansion of SCO has diluted its unanimity on hitherto shared perspectives. OTacitly accepting the fact that India and Pakistan are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Qingdao declaration confirms the compliance of the SCO's NPT signatories to its provisions. OIndia's reservations on China's BRI are accommodated by excluding ndorse it (all except India) The boilerplate formulations on terrorism accommodate the concerns of various members, without offending any. The essence of a functioning multilateral framework is focusing on shared objectives and underplaying divergences.
Besides expanding opportunities for India in Central Asia, the SCO is a platform for articulating a non-Western-as distinct from anti-Western perspective on global issues. IThis includes opposition to selective advocacy of regime change, self-serving homilies on human rights and intrusive advice on domestic policies It suits India that the SCO is not stridently anti-West in its pronouncements Ol . OStridentlyin an extremely forceful way. OThe U.S. cultivates relations with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to ensure logistical support for its Afghanistan operations and to gradually wean them away from Russian influence. These countries welcome the room for manoeuvre that this gives them O Russia and China also carefully avoid strong anti-West postures in the SCO preferring to deal with differences quietly and bilaterally.
Opening next year, tombwaidter that 'inspire ' the Taj Mahal nda 72. With reference to the cultural history of India, consider the following statements 1. White marble was used in making Buland Darwaza and Khankah at Fatehpur Sikri. 2. Red sandstone and marble were used in making Bara Imambara and Rumi Darwaza at Lucknow. Which of the statements given above is/are correct ? (a) 1only (b) 2 only (c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2 Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan was commissioned by Rahim for his wife. Tashi Tobgyal
COVEREDINa greennetand scaf- The renovation is being folding, the majestic tomb of done by AKTC along with the Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan in Archaeological Survey of India. the Nizamuddin area holdsplenty Built in red sandstone with of secrets-peacock medallions, white marble inlay, the tomb the Hindu swastika, a floral tank, was commissioned by soldier, hamams, and jharokhas. minister, poet and scholar Rahim Since 2014, this 16th century-known best for "Rahim ke garden-tombhas been undergo- dohe" - for his wife Mah Banu. ing renovation by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture as part of its NizamuddinareaUrban Renewal Initiative'. It is expected to open to the public by mid-2019. Medallions on the pillars re veal that no two motifs are alike floral and geometric designs dominate, along with calli- graphic inscriptions that read Ya Allah. The gardens too have beern