The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as a counterweight to NATO. As a Eurasian political, economic and security organisation, SCO serves as a critical geopolitical pole, focussed on central Asia and its neighbourhood. The sco had set the ball rolling to make India a member of the bloc during its summit in Ufa in Russia in July 2015, when the administrative hurdles were cleared to grant membership to India and Pakistan. This was seen as a balancing act, as Russia had then favoured permanent sco membership for India, while China pushed for Pakistan. Till now, India has been an observer at the SCO since 2005, participating in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic co-operation in the Eurasian region.
With India now obtaining membership of the SCO at the Astana summit, an important platform has opened up for New Delhi in an increasingly multi-polar world. For one thing, sco provides a good platform to boost India's ties with energy-rich central Asian nations. Many of the current members of the six-nation grouping have huge reserves of oil and natural gas. New Delhi should capitalise on this to shore up its energy security and open up land trading routes to Russia and Europe.
Diplomatic observers say that it will be interesting to see how India deals with several chall