The main objective of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is to strengthen mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states, promote their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas.Members – Russia, China, Central Asian republics, India, Pakistan, and Iran.
Issues with the aims and Objectives
- It is seen by the US and Europe as Anti – NATO. Ex – US sanctions against Russia after Crimean annexation, Closeness between Russia, and China.
- Contradictions because of India – Pakistan’s stand on issue of Terrorism.
- Despite SCO RATS – there is lack of consensus on the issue of terrorism.
- Bilateral differences between India and China.
- Contrasting Connectivity goals – India’s Connect Central Asia vs Chinese BRI.
Importance of SCO for India
India’s security, geopolitical, strategic and economic interests are closely intertwined with developments in the Central Asian region.
- Energy Security – Uranium and Hydrocarbon resources of Central Asia.
- Economic Growth: SCO produces more than 22% of the global GDP, that is by 2025, expected to reach 38- 40%.
- Security Cooperation: RATS is viewed by India as a platform to access intelligence and information and as a solution to regional security cooperation.
- Connectivity – Gateway to Eurasia for India. Projects like INSTC and Chabahar Port focus on this aspect.
- Enhances India’s status as an important player in Asian continental neighborhood.
- Acts as a platform for evening out differences with rivals like China and Pakistan especially given the strong ties between India and Russia.
SCO is part of India’s stated policy of pursuing “multi-alignments”. SCO can play a crucial role in India’s engagement with Afghanistan post-Taliban takeover. India must continue to look for positive engagement with the member nations of this organization.