India’s Refusal to Sign SCO Strategy: Impact on Its Relationship with the USA Amidst Evolving SCO Relations

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                  (Image Source- Google| Image By-Foreign Policy)

India’s increasing involvement with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO): How does it affect Indo-US relations?

In recent times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up the SCO chairmanship, an organisation spanning Eurasia, in addition to the existing chairmanship of the USA-led G-20 grouping. India finds itself engaged on multiple fronts, showcasing its commitment towards a more ‘multipolar’ world and its strategic autonomy while upholding the principle of “VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM.” However, this raises the question of how India intends to balance its relationship with the USA.

Why did India join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation amidst growing amicability with the US?

1. The SCO holds strategic importance for India due to its extensive geographical spread in Asia, covering 60% of Eurasia’s area.

2. It provides a platform for India to connect with Central Asian countries and enhance economic cooperation, diversifying its business partnerships.

3. This grouping plays a crucial role in regional stability and security as it addresses concerns such as countering terrorism, religious extremism, and separatism through the SCO’s regional anti-terrorism structure.

4. With India’s reduced engagement with SAARC and RCEP, it is important for India to align with regional groupings like the SCO.

5. The SCO is also relevant for energy security, as it is home to 20% of global oil reserves and 44% of global natural gas reserves, ensuring secure connectivity. Furthermore, the SCO is expanding its cooperation to include education, research, innovation, technology, digital infrastructure, healthcare, and agriculture.

6. The SCO provides a forum for India to address its security interests with Pakistan and China, particularly concerning India’s sovereignty and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

                  (Image Source- Google| Image By-The Hindu)

Impact on India-US relationship:

The United States has become India’s largest partner, with bilateral trade amounting to a record US$128.78 billion. Cooperation between the two nations extends to various areas, including defence, critical and emerging technologies, civil nuclear energy, space technology, and environment and health. The United States also collaborates with India in international organizations such as QUAD, I2U2, IPEF, IQRA, and the International Solar Alliance.

As the United States deepens its focus on the Indo-Pacific region and counters China, India’s increasing engagement with the China-led SCO grouping can have several implications for its relationship with the USA:

1. Reducing dependency: India’s diversification of strategic partnerships beyond the USA may lead to reduced dependence on any single country, including the USA itself.

2. Economic impact: The SCO promotes economic cooperation among member countries through the SCO Development Bank, which could create new economic opportunities for India. This, in turn, may impact bilateral trade and economic relations between India and the US.

3. Defence and security implications: The SCO’s focus on regional security and counter-terrorism, particularly through its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), has the potential to influence India’s defence ties with the USA.

4. Potential alignment with Russia and China: The SCO provides a platform for constructive engagement with both Russia and China, which raises concerns about India’s potential alignment with these nations at a deeper level, becoming a matter of concern for the USA.

5. Assisting Russia in evading sanctions: The SCO actively promotes de-dollarization among its member countries, indirectly helping Russia neutralize the sanctions imposed by Western nations.

The overall impact of India’s engagement with the SCO on US-India relations will be shaped by various factors, including India’s policy choices, interests, geopolitical developments, and India’s ability to balance its relations with both the USA and the SCO. India must exercise great care and diplomatic skills needed to ensure that it’s engagement with SCO doesn’t destructively impact it’s relationship with USA which remains a important trade, technology, strategic and defence partner.

Frequntly Asked Questions:

What is the role of India in the SCO?

India is a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), playing a significant role in the regional alliance. It contributes to regional security, counterterrorism efforts, and promotes economic cooperation among member states. India’s participation strengthens its ties with Central Asian countries and enhances its geopolitical influence in the region.

When did India join SCO?


What India gains from SCO?

Firstly, it strengthens its regional security cooperation, particularly in counterterrorism efforts. Secondly, India gains access to economic opportunities and enhanced trade ties with SCO member states, particularly Central Asian countries. Lastly, India’s participation in SCO enhances its geopolitical influence in the region, allowing for increased diplomatic engagements and strategic partnerships.

“Article Credit- Riya Singh”

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