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What is SCO and what it means for Asia and India?

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

Recently India assumed the chair for Shanghai cooperation organisation (SCO) which rotates among its members every year, after Uzbekistan now it's India's turn. At recent summit in Uzbekistan which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others. Following the summit, the leaders signed the Samarkand Declaration and adopted a package of documents. A statement by PM Modi is quiet viral where he says to President Putin about the war, that “today’s era is not of war” which is widely written even by the western media, which they usually don't do often as they like to associate India with only controversies and pass on unasked judgements on India often.

Image source - Internet

What is SCO?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent international intergovernmental organization. The creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was announced in June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Uzbekistan, The Russian Federation, and the Republic of Tajikistan.

Later, India and Pakistan joined it in 2017 when the SCO summit held in Astana.

There are 9 Member States:

  1. China

  2. India

  3. Kazakhstan

  4. Kyrgyzstan

  5. Russia

  6. Pakistan

  7. Tajikistan

  8. Uzbekistan

  9. Iran

There are 3 Observer States interested in acceding to full membership:

  1. Afghanistan

  2. Belarus

  3. Mongolia

There are 6 Dialogue Partners:

  1. Armenia

  2. Azerbaijan

  3. Cambodia

  4. Nepal

  5. Sri Lanka

  6. Turkey

What does SCO means and why it was founded?

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states;

  • To promote their effective cooperation in trade, politics, research, the economy, technology, and culture.

  • Education, transport, energy, environmental protection, tourism, and other areas.

  • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure security, stability, and peace in the region.

  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, rational, and fair new international economic and political order.

  • The organisation pursues its internal policy based on the principles of mutual benefit, mutual trust, mutual consultations, equality, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for common development, while the external policy is conducted under the principles of non-targeting and non-alignment.

SCO structure and its functioning

  • Decision-making body in the SCO is the Heads of State Council (HSC).

  • HSC meets once in a year and adopts guidelines and decisions on all important matters of the SCO.

  • SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organization’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues

  • There are two permanent bodies - First is the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent and second is the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing. RATS is established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.

  • Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO RATS and SCO Secretary-General are appointed by the Council of Heads of State for a term of 3years

Importance of SCO

  • It enables the Asian region to counter the American influence.

  • While India and other SCO nations work with other western nation it is important to work in close proximity with each other due to geographical significance.

  • It is also seen as counterweight to NATO.

  • India’s membership of SCO can help in achieving regional integration, promote connectivity and stability across borders.

  • It represents 40%of the global population, nearly 20% of the global GDP and 22% of the world’s land mass.

  • India being an energy deficient country with increasing demands for energy, SCO provides it with an opportunity to meet its energy requirements through regional diplomacy.

  • SCO acts as an alternative route to Central Asia.

  • Central Asian countries provides India with a market for its IT, telecommunications, banking, finance and pharmaceutical industries.

  • Platform for India to simultaneously engage with its traditional friend Russia as well as its rivals, China and Pakistan.

  • Helps India fulfil its aspiration of playing an active role in its extended neighborhood.

India has lot to do with it and as it assumes the Presidential-ship its going to be an important role player. With rivals China and Pakistan in the grouping it becomes more important and India has a challenge of Energy and economy ahead of it as well. This challenge cannot be countered without SCO nations playing its part.

stay tuned for more..




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