GS 2, International Relations, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
Discuss the role of India in promoting regional stability and security through its participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
शंघाई सहयोग संगठन (एससीओ) में अपनी भागीदारी के माध्यम से क्षेत्रीय स्थिरता और सुरक्षा को बढ़ावा देने में भारत की भूमिका पर चर्चा करें।
In this question candidates need to write about indias role in promoting regional stability and security through participation in shanghai cooperation organization.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent international intergovernmental organization.It covers 40%of the global population, nearly 20% of the global GDP and 22% of the world’s land mass. It plays a strategically important role in Asia due to its geographical significance this enables it to control Central Asia hence Indias role in promoting stability is crucial .
The establishment of the SCO coincided with the broadening of India’s strategic vision.
- With the defeat of the Taliban, a window of opportunity opened to connect with Afghanistan and the CARs. Since its inception, India had evinced interest in joining the grouping because of its stake in peace and stability in the region.
- At the Astana summit in 2005 India was accorded Observer status in the grouping.
- SCO is Part of India’s stated policy of pursuing “multi-alignments”.
- From the Indian perspective, the strategic and geographical space in which the SCO straddles is extremely important. The security, strategic, economic and geopolitical interests are also closely intertwined with developments in this area
- The challenges of terrorism, radicalism, and instability pose a grave threat to Indian sovereignty and integrity
- India requested access to intelligence and information from SCO’s counter-terrorism body, the Tashkent- based Regional Anti-Terror Structure (RATS).
- A stable Afghanistan is in India’s interest, and RATS provides access to non-Pakistan-centred counter-terrorism information
- With the landlocked states of Central Asia, and Uzbekistan even doubly landlocked, accessing these resources becomes difficult. In this regard, India has prioritized the construction of the International North-South Transport Joining SCO, it will help India to connect with South Asian states.
- The Central Asian region is richly endowed with vital minerals and natural resources.
- The major interest is in energy cooperation. But India will also have to deal with an assertive China, which will push its Belt and Road Initiative.
- SCO membership will help India to be a major pan-Asian player, which is currently boxed in the South Asian Region.
- Central Asia is part of India’s extended neighbourhood. India’s relations with countries in the region have enormous potential for enhancing ties in areas such as economy, security, policy, investment, trade, connectivity, energy, and capacity development.
- One reason is simply that India does not share common land borders with the region, but another factor has been the infrequent visits at the highest level between India and Central Asian states.
- India’s membership in the SCO will provide an opportunity for the leadership of India, including prime ministers, to meet with their counterparts from Central Asia, Russia, China, Afghanistan, and others regularly and frequently. India’s participation in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will be an added advantage to make this partnership more fruitful.
- India has demonstrated its keen interest in strengthening multi-faceted relations with Central Asia through Prime Minister’s historic visit to the five Central Asian Republics in July 2015.
- Several agreements were signed and new initiatives were launched. The TAPI gas pipeline is an example of a mutually beneficial project.
- In the future, India’s development experience, particularly in promoting agriculture, small and medium enterprises, pharmaceuticals, and information technology, can be of immense benefit to Central Asian countries.
- Indian PM raised issue of radicalization as well. In the acronym that the PM gave, called, “HEALTH”, the alphabet “T” stands for countries that stand against terrorism.
- It is important to note that radicalization is an issue that bedevils the Central Asian Region in a very big way. India also called for an international conference on terrorism, the SCO can take a lead in that.
- Also in his ‘HEALTH’ acronym, the alphabet ‘A’ refers to alternative energy. It is here that he speaks about India’s experience in terms of focusing on renewable energy. Prime Minister also touched upon regional cooperation and spoke about how India is willing to share its expertise in all these areas.
- Focus on Afghanistan (as a matter of fact, this is very significant), even though Afghanistan is not a member of the SCO, but India has a contact group on Afghanistan, and the Prime Minister underlined what India’s fundamental position on Afghanistan is.
- Finally, it is important to note that the SCO provides an opportunity for the Indian leadership to connect with the leadership of the Central Asian countries.
India’s membership of the SCO has given a big thrust to its regional policy. Indian policy is rooted in the region and has a regional outlook. The Central Asian members have welcomed India’s participation as they share a wide perception of common concerns and interests. An active role by India will strengthen regional stability and security in the region.
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