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Among all the multilateral organizations of which India is member, which one serves India's interest more

Answer: India is a member of many international organizations. Majorly the organization's strategic importance to India can be viewed from

  1. Economic Perspective
  2. Security Perspective
  3. Moral strategic support on international platforms

1. SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation):

A regional inter governmental organization and geo political co-operation of South Asia. Organization promotes economic and regional integration.

Members: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan

India is the strongest economy among SAARC countries, but the strategic importance is huge especially w.r.t security because all of its members are India's neighbors (PM recently announced a dedicated SAARC satellite). Recently on account of Uri terror attack, India boycotted the summit (supposed to be held in Pakistan) which was immediately boycotted by Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, shows the moral strength India gets.

Though economic support majorly flows from India to these nations, the increase in prosperity in the neighboring nations will intern increase the exports from India to those countries thereby improving India's Economy

2. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa):

Started as a group of nations having high potential of growth co-operating with each other (so majorly economic co-operation), lost its nature recently with economic slowdown in both Russia and Brazil. South Africa is still an underdeveloped country with huge mineral resources which every other country wants to exploit. So basically it has been reduced to relation between India & China.

3. NAM (Non Aligned Movement):

Founded in 1961 at Belgrade as a union of third world nations (with India as one of its founding members). Basically it is an organization of nations which have independent foreign policy not just merely aligning to strong powers of cold war era i.e. either USA or erstwhile USSR

But disintegration of USSR in 1991 (Russia still continues to be major arm supplier to India) and LPG & recent tilt of India towards USA especially after NDA government came to power in 2014 shows the reduction in importance given to NAM by Indian leaders which is visible from our PM not attending NAM summit in 2016. NAM is an organization based on common ideology in foreign policies. But when it comes to other issues it is not necessary that one NAM nation should support other NAM nations.

4. BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi -Sectorial Technical and Economic Co-operation):

Members: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand

Recent invitation of India to BIMSTEC to attend BRICS summit 2016 which was held in Goa gives us the glimpse of its strategic importance to India. Major co-operation areas include - trade, transport, tourism, energy, technology etc.

This organization can better be used as platform to achieve full trade potential among the member countries (and between India and ASEAN), can also play a role in maritime security improvement.

5. United Nations:

All the major decisions of UNSC are taken by 5 permanent members. No major reforms have been brought in UN especially UNSC even after 70 years of establishment mainly because the permanent members want to keep their veto power to themselves. These permanent members reaction to India's issues has largely been based on their own perspective. For ex: In case of Jammu& Kashmir or terrorism from Pakistan no country is supporting India openly except for Russia though it is very much evident from where terrorism is exported to India. India is a member of G4 Nations, Consisting of 4 countries namely Germany, Japan, India & Brazil which aspire to become permanent members in UNSC and reform it in accordance with changed circumstances compared to 1945 when UNO was established.

6. Mekong-Ganga Co-operation:

Comprises six member countries, namely India, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (Basically formed to keep China out). Major emphasis of cooperation on tourism, culture, education and transportation linkage.

This organization can better be used as platform to achieve full trade potential among the member countries (and between India and ASEAN). Other strategic organizations in which India is a part are Common wealth of Nations, WTO, UNICEF, G20 Nations, G8+5 Nations, Indian Ocean Rim Association etc and also plays good role in World Bank, IMF, WHO etc

Based on above arguments, it can be deduced that SAARC (followed by BIMSTEC) can serve the India's interests in all the perspectives if dealt properly.

- Anusha Kolli

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