Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  • The SCO is a political, economic and security organisation of China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
  • The SCO is primarily centred on its member nations’ Central Asian security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism.
  • India and Pakistan have been observing member, but this year both will become the functional member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Advantages of SCO membership:
India’s membership provides several advantages:
  1. It provides another venue for engagement with China and Pakistan, building up trust through cooperation.
  2. Full membership will enable New Delhi to closely interact with the SCO’s  Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure (RCTS) based in the Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent and participate in military exercises.
  3. SCO can play a key role in stabilizing Afghanistan post international troop pull-out and in talks with the Taliban.
  4. Promotion of India’s economic integration with the Central Asian republics, which is in line with India’s Connect Central Asia policy. Member countries of the grouping are rich in energy resources – both hydrocarbons and uranium.
  5. Opens up trade, energy and transit route to Russia and China through Central Asia.
  6. It will fit into India’s extended neighbourhood policy.
  7. SCO could benefit from India’s experience of tackling fundamentalists.
Why SCO membership may not be beneficial?
There are various reasons for this:
  1. A deep trust deficit between various members. India and Pakistan’s joining will aggravate the differences.
  2. SCO has only a handful of permanent bodies, such as its Secretariat or the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure based in Tashkent. These bodies, like the SCO as a whole, remain chronically underfunded and have limited powers to take decisions independently of their member governments.
  3. China has always viewed the SCO as “its organization” and SCO is a forum in which it is a rule maker rather than a rule taker.
  4. After India becomes member of SCO, China may try to enter SAARC.
  5. US has applied for observer status in SCO in 2000s but same was rejected by SCO citing geographical location. Now in the middle of increasing Ties between US and India, Membership to SCO can put US in suspicion towards India
  6. Indo-Pakistan long standing hostility could prevent more regional cooperation among SCO members. Also, third party intervention in Indo-Pak ties could increase which India would not welcome.
Link between SCO and OBOR:
  1. China would push OBOR via SCO
  2. India has not shown interest towards OBOR and thus there might be some conflicts in SCO
Related Questions:
  • Critically discuss the advantages and disadvantages of SCO membership for India. (200 Words)



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