Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India

This article deals with ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India- UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India
  • 2001: Founded in Shanghai
  • Headquartered in Beijing
  • Mainly a Eurasian Organisation
  • Evolved from border dispute solving mechanism to regional security organisation in 2004 and now a deliberation forum on all subjects
  • It is important organisation with
    • 3 significant world powers, Russia, China and India, under its umbrella.
    • 50%  of the world’s population
    • 25%  of the world’s  GDP

Nature of SCO

  • Works on Norms of consensus(in EU and ASEAN by majority)  , voluntarism and non interference .
  • Keep  domestic and foreign policy separate
  • Evolved from border dispute solving mechanism to regional security organisation in 2004 and now a deliberation forum on all subjects

Uniting factors in SCO

  • Countering US Hegemony (US is trying to influence regimes through Colour revolutions). This is glue factor
  • Economy : To enhance economic cooperation
  • Security  : Issue of Islamic Fundamentalism , Terrorism , Secessionism /Separatism , Countering Drug Tracfficking

Conflict of Interest in SCO

  • Rising China is concern for Russia in Central asia
  • Russia created CSTO which is mutual defence alliance & also formed EEU which is Economic Union of Eurasian region
  • China is more focussed on stability of Xinjiang rather than these central asian nations or containing NATO


  • Energy security: Some of the member countries of the grouping are rich in energy resources – both hydrocarbons and uranium. India being energy deficit , need these resources 
    • Russia has mooted the idea of ‘Energy Club‘ 
  • Security :The Asian-Eurasian block can play a key role  in stabilising Afghanistan . India has invested heavily in Afghanistan (2Billion $) and India needs to protect her assets there .
  • Apart from this , SCO can  help in forming a joint platform against terrorism & controlling the menace of drug trafficking .
    • Members share a high volume of information on counter-terrorism through the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO RATS) based in Tashkent. Till now, 500 terrorist attacks have been stopped by RATS.
    • Annual Military exercises, involving ground troops , aerospace & cyber threat. 
  • Economic integration: 
    • An important factor is the promotion of India’s economic integration with the Central Asian republics, which is in line with India’s Connect Central Asia Policy & also in investing heavily in INSTC and Chabahar Port development
    • Central Asian Republics provide huge possibility for Indian Automobile, Banking , IT & related sectors
  • Alternate platform for Indo-Pak & Sino-India Dialogue   
  • With Russia and China taking the lead, the SCO could even prove a guarantor for projects such as the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) and IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipelines that India has held off due to security concerns.

Some Problems India can face

  • SCO is already dominated by two UNSC Permanent Members ie China and Russia . Hence, it will not be easy for India to have a major say in such institution
  • SCO will be the second regional grouping after SAARC to have both India and Pakistan. This in itself can limit the effectiveness of SCO as has been the case with SAARC. 
  • On the issue of terrorism China and India have different attitude vis a vis Pakistan based Terrorist Organisations. Also definition of Terrorism is different for different states- eg Chinese consider Tibetan Freedom Movement as terrorists while India don’t .
  • In terms of connectivity, India has not joined China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road project and has concerns over China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 
  • Vision of SCO shared by Russia and China involves a ‘new order’, clearly aimed at the West. As a result, the SCO has been often called the “Anti-NATO”, meant to counterbalance U.S. and Europe power structures. It would seem incongruous to reconcile this with India’s close military ties with the U.S.

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