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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Context:

The 21st meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State was held on 17 September 2021 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in hybrid format.

  • The meeting was chaired by H.E. Emomali Rahmon, the President of Tajikistan.

 

About the SCO:

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.

  • The creation of SCO was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China).
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
  • It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

Founding members of SCO were-

  1. The Republic of Kazakhstan,
  2. The People’s Republic of China,
  3. The Kyrgyz Republic,
  4. The Russian Federation,
  5. The Republic of Tajikistan,
  6. The Republic of Uzbekistan.

 

Background:

  • Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five, Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001.
  • Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
  • Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001, following this the Shanghai Five was renamed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.

 

Member Countries:

Now, SCO is comprised of Eight Member countries. Namely-

  1. Kazakhstan
  2. China
  3. Kyrgyzstan
  4. Russia
  5. Tajikistan
  6. Uzbekistan
  7. India
  8. Pakistan

Iran has been accepted as the ninth full member of the organisation.

 

Objectives of SCO:

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
  • Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas.
  • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Significance for India:

The SCO’s significance for India lies in economics and geopolitics with the Eurasian states.

  • SCO is a potential platform to advance India’s Connect Central Asia policy. The SCO member states occupy the huge landmass adjacent to India’s extended neighbourhood where India has both economic and security imperatives.
  • Importance of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group to stabilise Afghanistan. SCO membership provides India a vital counter to some of the other groupings it is a part of.
  • The SCO provides the only multilateral platform for India to deal in close proximity with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Shanghai Five?
  2. When was SCO charter signed and when it entered into force?
  3. SCO founding members.
  4. When did India join the group?
  5. Observers and dialogue partners of SCO.
  6. Permanent bodies under SCO.
  7. Official languages of SCO.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Sources: the Hindu.