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Role of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Central Asia with Respect To India and US.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation- SCO

Role of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Central Asia with Respect To India and US.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization popularly known as SCO is a permanent international and intergovernmental organization. It was created in June 2001 in Shanghai, China and charter of SCO was signed in 2002 and came into force in 2003.

SCO is an economic, political and military organization which aim is to maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.

Members of SCO:

SCO has total 9 member countries:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Kazakhstan
  4. Kyrgyzstan
  5. Russia
  6. Pakistan
  7. Tajikistan
  8. Uzbekistan
  9. Iran (Became permanent member in 2022)

Objectives of SCO:

  1. Strengthening mutual trust developing good relationships among member countries.
  2. Promotion of an effective cooperation in the field of Politics, trade, economy, research, technology and culture.
  3. Enhancing ties in education, energy, transport, environmental protection, tourism and in other areas.
  4. Maintenance of peace and ensure security and stability in the region.
  5. Development of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Structure of SCO:

  • Heads of State Council (HSC): It is the supreme decision body of SCO. It decides the internal functioning of SCO and its interaction with other states as well as with the international organizations relating to the matter of international affairs.
  • Heads of Government Council (HGC): HGC approves the budget and decide the issues related economic interactions within SCO.
  • Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Tackle the issues related to day to day activities.
  • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS): Created to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.

 SCO Secretariat:

The Secretariat of the SCO is headquartered in Beijing, China. It is primary executive body to provide informational, analytical and organization support to SCO.

Official Language:

The official and working language of SCO is Chinese and Russian.

Strengths of SCO:

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation covers 40% of world population, 20% of global GDP and 22% of the global land mass.
  • SCO has a strategic role in central Asia because of its geographical importance and try to limit the influence of America in central Asia region.
  • SCO is also portrayed as a counterattack to the North Atlantic Treaty Ogranisation(NATO).

Challenges for SCO:

  • The major challenges in way of SCO are the battle against terrorism, extremism, separatism, illegal immigration, weapon and drug trafficking and other.
  • The second major challenge is the huge diversity in its member’s national interest, background, forms of government, language and culture makes the decision making of the SCO challenging.

SCO Summit 2023:

  • The 23rd summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held in 4th July, 2023 by the virtual mode. India has chaired the summit and Iran officially joined 23rd Summit of SCO as ninth member country.
  • Theme of this virtual summit is ‘ Towards a SECURE SCO’ given by Indian PM which stands for-

S- Security

E- Economic Development



R-Respect for Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity

E-Environmental Protection

Importance of SCO for India:

  • For India, Central Asia is the region which has enormous potential for developing ties with India’s extended neighbor countries in various areas like economy, security, policy, investment, trade and connectivity, energy and capacity development.
  • SCO is a part of India’s policy of pursuing Multi- alignments.
  • The geographical space of SCO is extremely important for India in strategic, security and economic point of view.
  • Cross border terrorism is always challenge for India for which India requested for the access of intelligence and information from SCO’s counter terrorism body called Regional Anti-Terror Structure(RATS)
  • The region of Central Asia is rich with important minerals and natural resources.
  • The major interest is in Energy cooperation but India has to deal with Chinese expansionism in Central Asia through its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • India’s membership in SCO will help India to be a pan-Asian player in South Asia.

India’s Stand in 23rd SCO Summit:

India joined SCO in2017 as a full member in Astana summit and for the first time India hosted the 23rd summit of SCO.

In this summit, India stood strongly in various aspects like:

  • New Pillars of Cooperation:

India has created new 5 pillars for cooperation in the SCO, such as:

  • Start ups and Innovation
  • Traditional Medicine
  • Youth Empowerment
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Shared Buddhist Heritage

India’s Reservations on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI):

  • India refusal to be a part of Belt and Road Initiative stems from its involvement of projects in POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir). This shows India straight forward foreign policy against Chinese expansion and Pakistan’s radical intention.

Indian Prime Minister’s Address:

  • The Prime minister of India Shri Narendra Modi addressed the importance of connectivity for strengthening trade and mutual trust among all SCO member countries.
  • He highlighted the fact that each member states should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • The Indian PM criticized those countries who are encouraging cross-border terrorism as a part of their policies and became a shelter home to terrorists. He also insisting the SCO not to hesitate in condemning those nations who are involved these activities.
  • Lastly, PM of India discussed the importance of consistency in addressing these critical challenges.

 SCO as a Challenge for US in Central Asia:

Central Asia is a region having great geo-political importance and interest of all big powers like- US, Russia, China and India. Each state wants to expand their political and economic influence in this region. The geo-political values of Central Asia are its energy supplies, diverse security and working as ‘geostrategic crossroads’.

For United States, central Asia is the most important road way to expand its power globally. But there are some challenges in path of US like:

  • The first challenge is the ongoing war of Afghanistan which is a drain on US resources and taxes.
  • The second challenge is both China and Russia are trying continuously to limiting United States influence in Central Asia through limiting its political and economic presence there.
  • SCO is portrayed as alternative of NATO in central Asia.
  • In spite of all these challenges, US stand strong in the region of Central Asia. US has a very good relation with Iran ( the newest member country of SCO ) and working with Iran in Nuclear programme. US and India also working jointly in various projects and shared free trade and mutual trust.
  • US always working against terrorism worldwide and supports democracy which is very similar with the objective SCO working against cross border terrorism and to curtain Chinese influence in central Asia US and India shared the same national interest. Strategically India will be there to support US in Central Asia against China.
  • SCO is struggling with the large diversified culture of its member states and the mutual distrust and different national interest between the member states may be benefiting US to expand its influence in Central Asia.


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