The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization found in Shanghai, with the objective of political, economic and security cooperation. India became a permanent member of the SCO in 2017.
Critical examination of aims and objectives of SCO is presented below:
•India-Pakistan-Russia-China relations create a complex matrix of diverging interests. For example: different interests in Taliban-Afghanistan.
•China has shown little respect to international rule-based order. Cheque-book and wolf warrior diplomacy, etc.
•Under the disguise of economic co-operation, China has pushed its BRI project through SCO.
•Pakistan and China are known to have supported terrorist and separatist organizations raising questions on RATS mechanism.
• China, Russia (Ukraine issue) and Pakistan are accused of destabilizing the regional peace, security and stability.
The SCO, as a regional inter-governmental organization holds following importance for India:
-Allows India to deepen its strategic reach in Central Asia.
-India already has substantial soft power potential (Buddhist linkages, Bollywood movies etc.) in Central Asia, which it can exploit through SCO.
-India’s membership of SCO can boost energy security by providing access to mineral and energy resources of the Central Asian countries.
-SCO can provide a platform to discuss bilateral issues with Pakistan and China.
-SCO can play a pivotal role in combating terrorism, extremism and radicalization. For example, Dushanbe declaration, aims towards regional stability.
The inimical acts of Pakistan, border dispute with China etc., factors could minimize the positive outcomes from SCO. In this light India’s SECURE strategy should be adopted to make SCO more effective in regional growth and stability.