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:
- Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
- 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.
- Maintaining and ensuring security, stability, and peace in the region.
- Moving toward the establishment of a democratic, rational, and fair new international economic and political order.
- 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:
- It provides India with an opportunity to engage with the Central Asian region, which is rich in natural resources and has a strategic location.
- It gives India access to the SCO’s multilateral mechanisms for addressing regional security issues, including terrorism and drug trafficking.
- It allows India to participate in the organization’s initiatives such as the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) and the SCO Business Council.
- It provides a platform for India to enhance its cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the member states of the SCO.
- It allows India to contribute to the organization’s efforts to maintain regional stability and peace.
- It gives India a greater role in shaping the regional and international political and economic order through its participation in the SCO.