The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 13 July 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on July 20, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report


Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Ufa

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Ufa, Russia. (RFE/RL)

This week’s snapshot focuses on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Ufa, Russia. The summit is widely regarded as Moscow’s attempt to show it is not isolated despite its on-going tensions with the West over the conflict in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the SCO and other regional groups to increase Russia’s influence in the former Soviet Union, and establish a counterweight to similar western organizations.


News summary of events during the week of 06JUL15 – 12JUL15

•   06JUL15: Chinese President Xi, Russian President Putin, and other leaders from the SCO will discuss the threat the Islamic State group poses to Afghanistan. (AFP)

•   07JUL15: India and Pakistan are set to become full members of the SCO when the group convenes in Ufa. (VOA)

•   08JUL15: Russian President Putin said the SCO is preparing for India to become a full-fledged member of the organization. (DPA)

•   09JUL15: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he expects Iran’s application for membership in the SCO to be approved. (Interfax)

•   09JUL15: The Pakistani Foreign Office said the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India will meet on the sidelines of the summit to discuss improving bilateral relations. (APP)

•   09JUL15: Russian FM Lavrov said Russia supports the idea of using the SCO as a platform for aligning Russian and Chinese economic development strategies. (Xinhua)

•   09JUL15: The heads of state of China, Russia, and Mongolia held their second trilateral meeting in Ufa. (Xinhua)

•   10JUL15: Russian President Putin voiced concern for the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, citing the growing production of opiates and increasing ISIS activity. (Tass)

•   10JUL15: Russian President Putin proposed establishing a working group on countering terrorism financing through the drug trade as a part of the SCO. (Tass)

•   10JUL15: Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to expand cooperation between China and Afghanistan, citing common security interests. (Xinhua)

•   10JUL15: Russian President Putin announced the acceptance of India and Pakistan as members of the SCO, and said Belarus would obtain observer status. (AP)

•   10JUL15: The SCO granted Nepal the status of a dialogue partner. (Xinhua)

•   10JUL15: Member states released a joint statement expressing their common concern over the growing threat posed by drugs. (Xinhua)

•   10JUL15: Russian President Putin said he hopes the SCO will become a platform for compromises to international issues. (Xinhua)

•   11JUL15: Leaders of the SCO approved documents drawing up the blueprint for the 10-year development strategy, organization expansion, closer coordination in security, and the resolve to uphold the results of World War II. (Xinhua)


Sample of Twitter handles regarding the SCO Summit

•   @CooleyonEurasia – Alexander Cooley, director of the Harriman Institute and Columbia University professor of political science

•   @Geeta_Mohan – Geeta Mohan, Foreign Affairs Editor at NewsX

•   @fahdhumayun – Fahd Humayun, Project Manager at Jinnah Institute

•   @DmitriTrenin – Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center

•   @AleksKhlebnikov – Alexey Khlebnikov, Senior Editor at Russia Direct


Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the SCO Summit

Moritz Rudolf, China foreign policy expert at the Mercator Institute for China Studies

“Formally linking the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ with the EEU under the SCO umbrella is one of the primary goals of Xi’s Ufa visit. Beijing will encourage BRICS states to endorse its initiative, possibly in return for generous infrastructure investments…Generally speaking China considers the BRICS and SCO groupings as important parallel-structures to existing US-led institutions. Strengthening these institutions will help Beijing in its pursuit to establish a multi-polar world.”

– What to expect from the SCO, BRICS summits in Russia, Deutsche Welle, 06JUL15

Manoj Joshi, Political analyst at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi

“In a peculiar way, the Indian membership will actually balance the group. If China and Russia are seen as kind of anti-American, India has got good ties with the United Sates. In that sense India’s presence will add clout [to the SCO and] will balance out any kind of anti-Americanism that there may be in the SCO.”

–  India, Pakistan Set for Full Membership in Shanghai Group, Voice of America, 07JUL15

Alexander Gabuev, Chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center

“China definitely wanted a free trade zone in the SCO. But Russia and other countries are afraid they will be flooded with cheap Chinese goods and won’t be able to impose tariff barriers, which is why they opted instead for the Eurasian Economic Union and are not letting China in.”

– The new Eastern Bloc: China, Russia and India are joining forces, Newsweek, 09JUL15

Sarah Lain, Research fellow at the Royal United Service Institute in London

“Of all the members of the SCO you’re seeing real concern over Afghanistan coming out. Even China is starting to do a tiny bit more in security support — not in the way that Russia would but for example they’re helping to rebuild barracks for soldiers and police and supplying some limited training.”

–  The new Eastern Bloc: China, Russia and India are joining forces, Newsweek, 09JUL15

Alexander Golts, Independent military expert

“There seems no doubt that Russia will face serious threats in Central Asia within a few years. The Russian leadership has understood that this region, particularly Uzbekistan, with its huge population and crushing poverty, provides excellent grounds for militant Islam. Unrest is inevitable. Russian strategists used to believe that Kazakhstan would shield Russia [from serious turmoil in Central Asia], but not any longer…there is a real fear that Kazakhstan could become unstable. The border between Russia and Kazakhstan is wide open. That threat is scary and real.”

– Islamist threat to Russia looms large at Central Asia security summit, The Christian Science Monitor, 10JUL15


Samples of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the SCO Summit

1. Putin welcomes India into Eurasian military alliance with China

Media: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)

Byline: N/A

Date: 08 July 2015

Moscow (dpa) – India is set to become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Eurasian political and military alliance that includes China and most of Central Asia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

“We are beginning the process for India’s complete ascension to the SCO,” Putin said during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a combined summit of the SCO and BRICS emerging economies in the Russian city of Ufa.

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2. Foreign Office confirms Sharif, Modi meeting in Russia

Media: Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 09 July 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India will meet Friday on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Russia’s city Ufa, the Foreign Office said Thursday.

“I can confirm that Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi will be having a bilateral meeting tomorrow (Friday) morning in Ufa… and there is no ambiguity about it,” Foreign Office spokesman Qazi M. Khalilullah said in his media briefing at the Foreign Office.

About the agenda of the meeting, the Spokesman said all important issues would come under discussion.

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3. SCO to become platform for conjoining Russian, Chinese development strategies: Russian FM

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 09 July 2015

UFA, Russia, July 9 (Xinhua) — Russia supports the idea of using the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as the platform for conjoining Russian and Chinese development strategies, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday here.

The SCO acts as the ideal platform for aligning China’s Silk Road Economic Road initiative with the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) development strategy, he said.

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4. Putin proposes creating anti-drug group as part of SCO

Media: Tass (Russia)

Byline: N/A

Date: 10 July 2015

MOSCOW, July 10. /TASS/. Russia calls for establishing as part of a regional anti-terrorist body of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) a working group on countering terrorism financing through drug trade, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

“We believe that there is a need to create as part of a regional anti-terrorist structure [of SCO] a working group on struggling against financing of terrorism through drug trade,” the Russian leader said at the SCO summit in Russia’s Ufa in an extended format.

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5. Xi pledges closer China-Afghanistan security cooperation

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 10 July 2015

UFA, Russia, July 10 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Friday with his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, and pledged to beef up security cooperation between the two countries.

“Strengthening security cooperation is in the common interests of China and Afghanistan,” Xi said at the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.

The Chinese side, he added, will continue to provide Afghanistan with assistance in security supplies, technology, equipment and training.

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