Sep 17: 21st SCO Council Meet – https://youtu.be/Mj8L8_2a1ho
INTERNATIONAL / SECURITY
- GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
- GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
21st SCO Council Meet
In News: Prime Minister participated virtually in the 21st Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and through video-message in the Joint SCO-CSTO Outreach Session on Afghanistan, in Dushanbe in hybrid format.
- Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It will be the first SCO Summit being held in a hybrid format and the fourth Summit that India will participate as a full-fledged member of SCO.
- Coming against the backdrop of the turbulence caused by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the current meeting will be one of the most significant gatherings in its two-decade history.
- Iran has been accepted as the ninth full member of the organisation.
India’s Stand –
- Highlighted the problems caused by growing radicalisation and extremism in the broader SCO region, which runs counter to the history of the region as a bastion of moderate and progressive cultures and values. The recent developments in Afghanistan could further exacerbate this trend towards extremism.
- Offered to share the open-source solutions that have been developed for its development programmes with other SCO members
- Connectivity projects should be transparent, participatory and consultative, in order to promote mutual trust.
- Noting the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, India reiterated it’s solidarity with the Afghan people.
- Suggestions to SCO:
- SCO could work on an agenda to promote moderation and scientific and rational thought, which would be especially relevant for the youth of the region.
- SCO could develop a code of conduct on ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism in the region, and highlighted the risks of drugs, arms and human trafficking from Afghanistan
About Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a political, economic, and Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of many important countries including India and its neighborhood.
- India is full member of the SCO.
- SCO Secretariat: Beijing
- Along with India and Pakistan (2017), this intergovernmental organisation has 8 members including Russia, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It also has several observers like Iran and Afghanistan.
- The internal policy of the forum is inspired by the Shanghai Spirit: based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, and a desire for common development.
- SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS): RATS is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism, and extremism and is headquartered in Tashkent.
- Built on Shanghai Five: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic) and Tajikistan popularly known as Shanghai Five had come together in the post-Soviet era in 1996, in order to work on regional security, reduction of border troops, and terrorism.
- Initial Success in resolving Boundary Disputes: The 1996 meeting of the Shanghai Five resulted in an ‘Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field Along the Border Areas’ between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which led to an agreement on the mutual reduction of military forces on their common borders in 1997.
- Inclusion of Uzbekistan: Subsequently, Shanghai Five helped resolve disputes between Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on border issues and the Ferghana Valley enclaves.
- Institutionalisation: Subsequently a permanent intergovernmental international organisation called SCO was founded in June 2001. It is Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Expansion: Its membership was expanded to include India and Pakistan in 2017.
- SECURE: PM Modi’s mantra that is applicable to SCO
‘S’ for security of citizens,
‘E’ for economic development,
‘C’ for connectivity in the region,
‘U’ for unity,
‘R’ for respect of sovereignty and integrity, and
‘E’ for environmental protection
Can you answer the following question?
- What are India’s stakes in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)? What benefits would accrue from India’s membership of the grouping? Discuss.