- After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the then security and economic architecture in the Eurasian region dissolved and new structures had to come up.
- Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic) and Tajikistan is popularly known as Shanghai Five.
- They had come together in the post-Soviet era in 1996.
- In order to work on regional security reduction of border troops, and terrorism.
- Subsequently, a permanent intergovernmental international organisation called SCO was founded in June 2001.
- It is the Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Its membership was expanded to include India and Pakistan in 2017.
- The SCO Secretariat, based in Beijing, is the main permanent executive body of the SCO.
- Bringing together the colorful and distinctive cultures of Central and South Asia, China and Russia it promotes mutual assistance and team spirit.
- The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General.
- Nominated by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and approved by the Heads of State Council.
- The Secretary-General is appointed for a single three-year term with no possibility of extension.
Secretary General SCO – Zhang Ming
SCO – RATS
- The SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure established by the member states of the Shanghai Convention to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism of 15 June 2001 located in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic.
- The Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of SCO is the permanent body of the SCO RATS based in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
Significance of RATS
- Fight against ‘Three evils’: Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism with help of SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS).
- Improvement of Practical Skills, Joint Anti-Terrorism exercises are conducted Through Law Enforcement agencies and the Armed Forces.
Members of SCO- PICK TURKEY
- P- Pakistan
- I- India
- C- China
- K- Kyrgyzstan
- T- Tajikistan
- U- Uzbekistan
- R- Russia
- K- Kazakhstan
SCO- Heads of State Council
- The SCO Heads of State Council shall be the supreme SCO body.
- It shall determine priorities and define major areas of activities of the Organisation.
- It will decide upon the fundamental issues of its internal arrangement and functioning and its interaction with other States and international organisations.
- The Council shall hold its regular meetings once a year.
- A meeting of the Heads of State Council shall be chaired by the head of State organizing this regular meeting.
- The venue of a regular meeting of the Council shall generally be determined in the Russian alphabetic order of names of the SCO member states.
India & SCO
- India and the region were inextricably bound with each other from 3rd century BC to 15th century AD through the Silk Road.
- It served as the conduit of communication.
- It also aided trading in several commodities, including textiles, spices, tea, fur, bronze and others.
- India joined SCO as a full member in 2017.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the acronym SECURE in order to facilitate comprehensive security in the SCO region.
- S stands for the security of citizens
- E for economic development for all
- C is for connecting the region
- U is for uniting our people
- R is for respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity
- E is for environmental protection
- There are four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia).
- There are six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).
- In 2021, the decision was made to start the accession process of Iran to the SCO as a full member.
Cooperation with UN
- On 2 December 2004, the 59th plenary session of the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution А/RES/59/48 entitled “Observer status for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the General Assembly.”
- The resolution provided the SCO with the right to participate in the sessions and work of the General Assembly as an observer.
Presidency to India- 2023
- In a rotational presidency, New Delhi will preside over the SCO from 2022 to 2023.
- SCO Presidency 2022- Samarkand, Uzbekistan
- Since India has flagged many important ideas pertaining to food security, connectivity and economic development in the SCO.
- India must seize this opportunity to demonstrate its cultural and historical linkages to the SCO members, particularly the Central Asian republics.
Cultural Capital – Varanasi
- Varanasi, one of the world’s most ancient and continuously inhabited cities, is known as Banaras or Kashi.
- With India’s presidency of SCO, Varanasi has also obtained the rotating title of ‘Cultural and Tourism Capital’ for the SCO region.
- Varanasi is known as the cultural capital of India and is associated with spiritualism, mysticism, Sanskrit, and yoga.
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