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Eminem asked: What does India stand to gain if the membership of SCO is granted?

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  • Meena Singh Roy: Given the increasing role and significance of the SCO in the Eurasian region and beyond, India is likely to benefit more in the long-term by joining the organisation rather than by staying out of it. For long India has been seen as a “mute spectator” and “fence sitter” in terms of its foreign policy towards Western and Central Asia. As India seeks to expand its role in regional and global affairs, it cannot remain insulated from the developments in its extended neighbourhood. Today, India’s growing economy and its scientific and technological advancement are perceived as being beneficial for the region.

    First and foremost, the full membership of the SCO will provide India greater visibility in the affairs of the Eurasian region which is strategically important for India. Secondly, it will enable India, as an integral part of the Eurasian security grouping, to neutralise centrifugal forces arising from religious extremism and terrorism in the region. In addition, it will help India in managing much more effectively the negative impact of a Talibanised Afghanistan, especially in the post-2014 scenario. Thirdly, it will provide India with a forum where it can constructively engage both China and Pakistan in a regional context and project India’s security interests in the turbulent regional swathe— including West Asia. More importantly, cooperation in three critical areas— energy, building trade and transportation links, and dealing with traditional and non-traditional security threats— can be facilitated through the SCO mechanism.