[Model Answer QP2023 GS2] ‘Virus of conflict is affecting the functioning of the SCO’ In the light of the above statement point out the role of Indian mitigating the problems.


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), established in 2001, was envisioned as a comprehensive regional organization promoting political, economic, and security-related cooperation among its members. However, underlying geopolitical tensions, primarily among its key members, have often been termed as the “virus of conflict” within the organization.

Conflicts within the SCO:

1. Sino-Indian Tensions: Border disputes, trade-related issues, and geopolitical rivalry in the Indo-Pacific have caused rifts between the two nations.

2. Indo-Pak Relations: India and Pakistan, both of which joined the SCO in 2017, have a history of bilateral tensions, which sometimes spill into SCO discussions.

3. Sino-Russian Dynamics: While both nations share a comprehensive strategic partnership, there’s an underlying competition in Central Asia, which can affect SCO dynamics.

India’s Role in Mitigating the Problems:

1. Advocacy for Constructive Dialogue: India has been a proponent of dialogue and diplomatic solutions. By advocating for bilateral issues to be kept outside the SCO framework, India pushes for a more focused and cohesive regional organization.

2. Economic Initiatives: Through platforms like the SCO Business Council and Interbank Consortium, India has played a role in driving economic projects and trade. This is seen as a way to create interdependence, reducing the scope for conflict.

3. Counter-Terrorism Cooperation: Given that terrorism is a shared concern for SCO members, India has been an active participant in joint exercises and initiatives, like the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), emphasizing collective security and cooperation.

4. Cultural Diplomacy: India, with its rich cultural heritage, has actively participated in cultural exchange programs under the SCO framework, fostering goodwill and mutual understanding. For instance, the SCO Food Festival in India offered a platform for member nations to showcase their cultural richness, fostering camaraderie.

5. Support for Multilateralism: India’s commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based global order means that it treats the SCO as an essential platform for regional cooperation. This attitude of India helps in building consensus on various issues within the organization.

6. Conflict Resolution Mechanisms: As an experienced democratic nation, India can help evolve robust conflict resolution mechanisms within the SCO, drawing from its own practices and global best standards.


While the “virus of conflict” does affect the functioning of the SCO, India, with its commitment to regional cooperation, plays a balancing role. By emphasizing dialogue, promoting economic interdependence, and fostering cultural ties, India works towards a cohesive and functional SCO, mitigating the impact of underlying tensions. The organization’s success, however, will depend on the collective will of all members to prioritize regional stability and progress over individual conflicts.

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