What is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation? Explain its significance for India. (10 marks)

What is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation? Explain its significance for India. (10 marks)


  • Introduce with the SCO and recent membership of India.
  • Point out salient features of SCO
  • Discuss the significance for India
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. With India and Pakistan becoming its full members in 2017, it now accounts for 40% of the world’s population, and almost 20% of World GDP.

Salient features of the SCO:

  • Head-quartered at Beijing, it is a political, economic and security alliance seeking to make joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the Central Asian region, and to strengthen mutual trust and neighbourliness in the region.
  • Its objectives are centred around the cooperation between the member nations on security related concerns, military cooperation, intelligence sharing and counter terrorism.
  • It is also working towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

The significance of the SCO for India:

  • India’s security, geopolitical, strategic and economic interests are closely intertwined with developments in the region.
  • Security: India, as an SCO member, can able to play a major role in addressing the threats of terrorism, radicalism and instability in the region. The Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) of SCO specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.
  • Economic: The combined GDP value of the SCO is around $20 Trillion which gives ample scope for economic cooperation among the member states. Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are also members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and can play a role in enhancing economic cooperation of EEU with India.
  • Natural resources: The Central Asian region is richly endowed with natural resources and vital minerals. However, there is lack of direct land connectivity to this region. Joining the SCO will be a welcome diplomatic boost to India’s efforts to connect with Central Asia.
  • Connectivity: It boosts India’s ability to pursue “Connect Central Asia” Policy.

Despite the potential, many of the organization’s high-profile initiatives continue to be aspirational and unfilled – especially in the area of economic and energy cooperation. With India’s recent full membership adding heft and muscle to the organisation, it must now focus on delivering positive outcomes and also more clearly define the organization’s exact purpose and scope.

Subjects : International Relations