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If the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial seems unusually tense by the standards of such multilateral events, it is because two of its key members are at odds with the third. Or, if you find it more appropriate, because one of its key members, the host, is at odds with the other two.
Don’t fall for the temptation the more things change, the more they stay the same. There are indeed things that remain the same, like India’s slow strategic asphyxiation in the China-Pakistan pincer. Manmohan Singh had described this as a straightforward case of China using Pakistan as a cheap instrument to “triangulate” India. Beyond that, since he handed over the keys to Narendra Modi, much has changed.
This SCO summit is a good moment to take stock of what has changed, and what hasn’t. For now, let’s focus on the three in our triangle. Then we will explore beyond this, too.
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