India’s SCO Challenge
India’s involvement in the SCO brings a diplomatic challenge and opportunities in energy, connectivity, and security.
India became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the Astana Summit on June 8-9, 2017. The declaration of China and Russia on May 31, 2017, was the last milestone in India’s membership quest. After becoming a full member, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the 16th Meeting of Council of SCO Heads of Governments in Sochi, Russia on November 30 and December 1 this year. The highlights of her speech included urging on the fight against terrorism, improving connectivity, and energy.
India’s membership in the SCO provides it with select opportunities in the geoeconomic and the geostrategic sphere in the Central Asian Region (CAR). The CAR supplies around 10 percent of oil and energy to the world. With India being one of the most energy-hungry nations, involvement in the SCO provides it with an opportunity to satisfy its energy requirements through regional diplomacy. India’s pending energy projects like the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline, IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline, and CASA (Central Asia-South Asia)-1000 electricity transmission projects — all of which are blocked, due in part to Pakistan’s recalcitrant approach — can get a much needed push through the SCO.