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Q. India and SCO: Discuss how membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will benefit India.
Jun 25, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai. China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are full time members of SCO. Presently India is having observer status in SCO and the process to admit India as full time member has already started.

Background-

  • Initially the Shanghai Five grouping was created in 1996 with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in the regions by heads of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. In 2001 Uzbekistan has been joined in the group, and Shanghai Five was renamed as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
  • In the backdrop of post–9/11 environment as growing ethnic nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism emerged as major causes of concern for Russia, China and Central Asian states, these countries felt the need of multilateral organisation for regional safety. SCO also established to keep control of Central Asia and limit American influence in the region.

India and SCO-

  • India was admitted into the SCO as an observer at the 2005 Astana Summit along with Iran and Pakistan.
  • In 2010 Tashkent Summit lifted the moratorium on new membership, which restricted admission of other countries as full time members.
  • In 2015 the SCO decided to admit India as full member.
  • Recently India has signed the memorandum of obligations, thereby starting the formal process of joining the SCO as a full member. It is expected that by 2017 summit, India will become full time member of SCO.

How it will benefit to India-

  • The SCO region covers almost 60% of the Eurasian landmass, with over 1.5 billion in population, including some of the world’s leading energy-rich nations. India would significantly benefit from the grouping's strengths in energy and natural resources. So it can be important for source for India’s energy demand.
  • Similarly, for India a membership in the SCO is primarily its gateway to Central Asia, and which will benefit to enhance trade with these countries. Its growing economic clout and SCO membership India can become attractive economic power in the region.
  • India is playing key role as a stabiliser and security provider in Central Asia and with India's membership of SCO would contribute to region's prosperity. It would also strengthen its security.
  • Like SCO countries, India is also facing the securities issues posed by terrorism and insurgency. With joint actions and intelligence exchanges, the fight against terrorism and insurgency will get fillip and promoting regional security.
  • SCO will also provide another platform to address longstanding border disputes with neighbours like China and Pakistan. It may play key role in reducing the existing trust deficits with these countries.

Conclusion-

SCO membership helps India in securing its energy demand and also contributes for the safety of India and region. There exists deep similarity in the India’s interest in the region and objectives of SCO. Hence India’s membership in SCO will benefit economically as well as strategically to the whole region.  Hence India’s SCO membership is in the interest of whole region.

(PS- The details given in answer for information purpose, use only 3-4 lines from introduction and background, then directly write benefits in your answer.)


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