International Relations News

SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION (SCO)

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

International Relations [Paper-I]: India’s Foreign Policy, International Organisations, International Treaties and Forums, their structure and mandate

News

  • India will host the 19th Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2020.
  • This will be the first such high level meeting of the eight-member grouping to be organised by India after its admission to the bloc in 2017.
  • 18th meeting of Council of Heads and Governments of the SCO countries was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (November, 2019).

About SCO

  • It is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation, which was founded in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan in the year 2001.
  • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
  • SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
  • SCO holds two types of annual summits namely Council of Heads of States and Summits Heads of Governments.
  • Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO.
  • Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organisation’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues, and also to approve the organisation’s annual budget.
  • SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

Main Goals of SCO

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states
  • Promoting 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

Permanent bodies

  • SCO Secretariat based in Beijing
  • Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent

Significance

  • SCO has high economic potential because 40% of the world’s population lives in its countries.
  • They produce an aggregate GDP of more than $18 trillion, which is more than the 22% of the global GDP. By 2025, it is expected to reach 38-40%.
  • SCO is seen as an eastern counter-balance to NATO.
  • It has a strategically important role in Asia due to its geographical significance which enables it to control the Central Asia and limit the American influence in region.

Importance of SCO membership for India

  • It will allow India to push effective action in combating terrorism and on issues related to security.
  • India through RATS can improve its counterterrorism abilities by working toward intelligence sharing, law enforcement and developing best practices and technologies.
  • Since India is an energy deficient country with increasing demands for energy, SCO provides it with an opportunity to meet its energy requirements through regional diplomacy.
  • It provides direct access to Central Asia which will help the country in overcoming the barriers in flourishing of trade between India and Central Asia.
  • It is a platform for India to simultaneously engage with its traditional friend Russia as well as its rivals, China and Pakistan.
[Source: The Hindu, India Today]

About the author

Talent KAS