2023 GS2 Answer

Q. ‘Virus of Conflict is affecting the functioning of the SCO’ In the light of the above statement point out the role of India in mitigating the problems.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS2 Paper

Model Answer: 

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance that was created in 2001. Its members include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan. The “Virus of Conflict” in this context likely refers to the various tensions and disagreements among member states that can undermine the effectiveness and unity of the organization.

India’s Role in Mitigating Problems within the SCO

India, which became a full member of the SCO in 2017, can play a significant role in mitigating these problems through several approaches:

1. Diplomacy and Dialogue

India can leverage its position as a major regional power to promote diplomacy and dialogue within the SCO. By advocating for peaceful resolution of conflicts and encouraging open communication, India can help to reduce tensions and build trust among member states.

2. Confidence-Building Measures

India can propose and support confidence-building measures that enhance transparency and mutual understanding among SCO members. These could include joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, and other cooperative security initiatives.

3. Economic Integration

India can push for greater economic integration and cooperation within the SCO framework. By promoting trade, investment, and connectivity projects that benefit all members, India can help to create a more cohesive and cooperative regional economy that may reduce the potential for conflict.

4. Counterterrorism Initiatives

Given the SCO’s focus on security and counterterrorism, India can take a leading role in developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to combat terrorism, extremism, and separatism. This can help address one of the key security concerns that may be a source of conflict among member states.

5. Multilateralism

India can advocate for a multilateral approach to regional issues, emphasizing the importance of collective decision-making and respect for international law. This can help ensure that the interests of all member states are considered and that unilateral actions do not exacerbate tensions.

6. Balancing Relations

India can use its unique position of having good relations with both Russia and the West to act as a mediator or a balancing force within the SCO. By maintaining a neutral stance on contentious issues, India can help to bridge divides and facilitate compromise.

7. Non-Alignment and Autonomy

India’s historical policy of non-alignment and strategic autonomy allows it to engage with conflicting parties without being seen as taking sides. This can be an asset in defusing tensions and promoting an environment conducive to cooperation.

8. Cultural and People-to-People Ties

India can promote cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts within the SCO framework to foster mutual understanding and goodwill among the populations of member states. This can help to build a foundation for resolving conflicts at the governmental level.

It is important to note that mitigating problems within the SCO is a complex task that requires the cooperation and commitment of all member states. India’s role, while significant, is just one part of a larger effort to ensure the organization functions effectively and harmoniously.

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