Significance of SCO

Before understanding significance of SCO, we need to understand what SCO is.

SCO – Political, military and economic bloc estd in 2001 as a successor of Shanghai Five (estd in 1996 by 5 nations – CUT KKR – China, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia). With inclusion of Uzbekistan (U) in 2001 finally SCO got estd. (CUT KKR)

Objective – counter-terrorism, preventing drug trafficking and illicit narcotics trade, economic cooperation and military cooperation to ensure security in the CAR (Central Asian region)

Members – CUT KKR + India + Pakistan => India and Pak became full members of SCO in 2017 @Astana summit



Significance of SCO

  1. SCO nations represent 60% of world’s landmass and 50% of world’s humanity
  2. Counter-terrorism – Since from beginning NATO has been reluctant to provide security to CAR, SCO-RATS (Regional Anti Terrorism Structures) can act as an effective body to deal with terrorism and extremism in the region =>RATS becomes more imp after Trump’s questioning the relevance of NATO itself + growing threat from ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Taliban => with inclusion of India and Pak, SCO can play a leading role to deal with terrorism and boost the regional security
  3. Drug trafficking – with inclusion of Pakistan and Afghanistan & Iran being the observer states, SCO can now take effective measures to counter and prevent drug trafficking emanating from the Golden Crescent region (Afghanistan+Pak+Iran), posing a threat to the security of the entire region including South Asia (including India)
  4. Connectivity and trade – CAR is central to China’s trans-continental OBOR/BRI plans which will connect China to Europe, Mediterranean region, West Asia and Persian Gulf via CAR =>has great potential to boost trade, economy and security

SCO’s importance for India

  1. Currently India’s trade with CAR is below $10bn/year and with Russia being ~$12bn/year. There is a great potential for India to boost trade and commerce with the region especially through the FTA with EEU
  2. India can effectively use SCO to speed up connectivity projects like Chabahar port + INSTC (International North-South Transport corridor) + being a member of Ashgabat agreement => all these will boost India’s connectivity with CAR, Russia and Europe =>will boost trade and make India’s exports competitive
  3. India can speed up energy projects like TAPI pipeline + Indo-Russian gas pipeline through SCO => also India can amicably resolve connectivity issues with Pakistan for allowing Indian goods transit route to Afghanistan and CAR through Pakistan
  4. India can boost cultural ties + Tourism with CAR through SCO which can bring significant FOREX to India & boost people to people contacts




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