Throw some light on the significance and challenges of membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for India.

India along with Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2018. Other members are Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China.

Significance for India:

  • Potential to leverage SCO’s help in breaking stalemate with Pakistan for TAPI and IIP pipelines.
  • Energy cooperation and mineral exploration as region is rich in strategic minerals.
  • Access to central Asian markets and Europe through land route.
  • Foster stronger people to people ties through enhanced trade and connectivity.
  • Boost Indian exports especially from agriculture sector.

However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed:

  • Emerging China-Pak-Russia proximity.
  • BRI initiative of China and its debt-trap policy.
  • Encirclement of India via maritime silk route and string of pearls approach.
  • Cold relations with Pakistan because of state funding of terror.
  • US-India persistently seems to be pushing Russia away. However, this has changed due to Russia-Ukraine conflict.

As External Affairs Minister said that the SCO is bound by values of Buddhism, it continues to be of great strategic importance.

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