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The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: India Seeking New Role in the Eurasian Regional Mechanism

Meena Singh Roy is Research Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detail profile.
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  • IDSA Monograph Series No. 34

    India, in 2005, acquired the observer status in the SCO. Since then it has constructively participated in all SCO summit meetings thus showing its strong willingness to be meaningfully associated with this regional grouping. It has also expressed its desire to join the SCO as a full member. Despite India's keen interest and desire to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as a full member, it is still a step too far and one that seems unlikely soon with the organisation's current trajectory. However, this is not to argue that India should lose interest in the SCO. Given the complexities of the relations among the SCO member-states and other geopolitical realities, it is still premature to write off the effectiveness of this regional grouping. So far, its success has been somewhat mixed in various areas but in the long run, its relevance for the region will not wane. Therefore, in the long run, it will be in India's interest to watch the developments closely from within as a full member rather than sit on the side-lines. The major hurdle for India to acquire the full membership in the SCO is the lack of consensus among the member-states. It is believed that China would try and delay India's entry as full member in this regional organisation, whereas Russia along with the Central Asian countries would continue to support India's full membership in the SCO. However, it is debatable whether China can stall India's entry in the SCO for long. In long-term China would find it difficult to block India's membership in the SCO because of the increasing relevance of India for China to manage many regional and global security and economic challenges in the era of changing global order. New regional and global order would demand greater cooperation between India and China in future.

    About the Author

    Dr Meena Singh Roy is a Research Fellow and Coordinator of the West Asia Centre at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. She has done her Ph.D. from University of Delhi and has been senior research scholar in the Department of African Studies, Delhi University. She has also been associated with Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies for her research work. Her area of specialisation is Central Asia, and Iran. She has been involved in net assessment reports on Central Asia and West Asia. She has published two books titled, International and Regional Security Dynamics: Indian and Iranian Perspectives (ed.), July 2009, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi and Emerging Trends in West Asia: Regional and Global Implications (ed.), 2014, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and PENTAGON PRESS, New Delhi.

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