Sunday, June 21, 2009


Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a mutual inter governmental security organization founded in 2001 by six nations-Russia,China,Tajikistan,Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.The organization is a successor of Shanghai Five formed in 1996 with five nations.Uzbekistan is the latest entrant.India, Pakistan,Iran and Mongolia have been granted Observer status .The Council of the Head of the States is the top decision making body which meets every year during the SCO Summit.
Central Asian security related issues are the major concerns of the organization.However SCO has shown keen interest for better economic and cultural cooperation among the member countries.According to many observers, it was formed to counterpoise the military activities of NATO in the region.This assumption was bolstered by caustic remarks made by some of the top officials of the organization against USA's failure in maintaining peace and prosperity in the region especially countries like Afghanistan.USA even applied for Observer status in 2005 but was denied.However,recent develolpments tell a different story.
The latest summit was held in Yakaterinburg,Russia in June 2009.The main agenda of discussion was the global financial crisis and it was agreed that the situation could be exploited by the organization for promoting better economic growth in the region.The leaders also expressed their concern over rising terrorism in the region and showed determination to wage an effective war on drugs in Afghanistan.Sustainable development was also one of the highlights of the summit.Prior to the conference a Special Conference on Afghanistan was held in Moscow to discuss issues like drug trafficking,taliban resurgence,restructuring the war torn nation etc.
In 2005 India, along with Pakistan and Iran, was granted the status of observer in the regional organization. SCO members have encouraged India to join as a full time member as they see a crucial strategic partner in India.Moreover, India's continuing success as world's largest democracy and her huge domestic market can be instrumental in projecting the role of SCO in the global stage.Moreover India's growing presence in the oil fields of the region is another issue behind her growing importance.India has maintained excellent relation with each of the member nations and a strong and influential foreign policy in the region and worlwide. Not only that, like SCO,India, too has shown great interest in rebuilding Afghanistan and bringing peace back.
However, few issues are stll needed to be sorted out before India can join the regional organization.Her military rivalry with Pakistan,her recent strategic tilt towards USA and growing cooperation between China and Pakistan are some of the thorns in the otherwise rosy picture.If amicable sulutions to such problems can be found,India can play a crucial role in the future developments of the organization.

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