Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. What importance does it hold for India? (250 words) [2021]

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent international intergovernmental organization made up of 9 member states: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran. SCO’s main aims and objectives include:

  1. Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
  2. Promoting effective cooperation in trade, politics, research, the economy, technology, and culture, as well as in education, transport, energy, environmental protection, tourism, and other areas.
  3. Maintaining and ensuring security, stability, and peace in the region.
  4. Moving toward the establishment of a democratic, rational, and fair new international economic and political order.
  5. Pursuing an internal policy based on principles of mutual benefit, mutual trust, mutual consultations, equality, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for common development, while conducting an external policy based on principles of non-targeting and non-alignment.

The importance of the SCO for India is as follows:

  1. It provides India with an opportunity to engage with the Central Asian region, which is rich in natural resources and has a strategic location.
  2. It gives India access to the SCO’s multilateral mechanisms for addressing regional security issues, including terrorism and drug trafficking.
  3. It allows India to participate in the organization’s initiatives such as the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) and the SCO Business Council.
  4. It provides a platform for India to enhance its cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the member states of the SCO.
  5. It allows India to contribute to the organization’s efforts to maintain regional stability and peace.
  6. It gives India a greater role in shaping the regional and international political and economic order through its participation in the SCO.

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