Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the 22nd Heads of State Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will land in Samarkand, Uzbekistan today to attend the 22nd Heads of State Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The PM is also likely to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The article talks about how the attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the State Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will impact Indian Polity and Governance.   


Pic: Prime Minister in State Summit of SCO

What is Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent international intergovernmental Organization headquartered in Beijing, China, and was formed in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and  Tajikistan. India and Pakistan became permanent members in 2017 at the SCO Astana Summit. As of now, it includes 9 Permanent members, 3 observer states as members, and 6 dialogue partner states.

Aims and Objectives

SCO was formed with the objective of promoting political, economic, and security cooperation among its member nations. It aims to safeguard regional peace, security, and stability and create a democratic and equitable international, political and economic order. It has a multi-dimensional approach to ensure cooperation and synergy in the field of political affairs, trade, education, culture, energy, transport, tourism, and environmental protection. 

Organizational Structure

The major bodies of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are given below:

  • The Heads of State Council (HSC): It is the supreme decision-making body of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which meets once a year. It decides the major areas of functioning of SCO and also determines its internal functioning as well as its dealings with other states and international organizations.
  • The Heads of Government Council: is the second-highest organ of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with a dual mandate to decide on budgetary matters and devise details of economic cooperation.
  • The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Considers issues related to day-to-day activities and holding of consultations on international problems within the Organization. 
  • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS): Established to fight against terrorism, separatism, and extremism.

Importance of the SCO meet 

  •  Rebuilding the economy: It is the first in-person meeting of the Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Countries will have to find a way to come out of the economic recession hitting the world.
  • Combating terrorism: With the coming of the Taliban into power in Afghanistan coupled with the rise of extreme fundamentalist groups and terrorism sparked by ISIS and other groups, states will have to come together to combat security threats. 
  • Resolving Ukraine- Russia conflicts: The Ukraine-Russia military escalations pose a threat to global stability. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting needs to address this.
  • De-escalation of Taiwan-China tensions: The relations have strained all the more ever since US speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan which was eyed with suspicion by China. There is growing fear of a Chinese invasion as military tensions increased in the Taiwan Strait and the USA is considering imposing sanctions against China. 
  • Finding solutions to Iran Nuclear Deal: The negotiations between USA and Iran have continuously reached no conclusion with the USA now imposing new sanctions against Iran.  

Significance of SCO for India

  • Support for permanent membership of the UN Security Council: India can channel SCO to gain support for permanent seats in UNSC. Uzbekistan already sports India’s candidature for it.
  • Connectivity to Central Asia and harnessing relations with Iran: India showed support in admitting Iran as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Further, during the foreign ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization last year, India highlighted the important role of the Chabahar Port in increasing connectivity in the region.
  • Trade and Investment: India has the opportunity for the development of startups, exchange of science and technology, and traditional medicine with Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states. India is already a major source of medicines and pharmaceuticals in Tajikistan.
  • Natural Resources: The Central Asian region is rich in natural resources like crude oil, natural gas, gold, iron, aluminum, and copper.
  • Security and stability: The issues arising from the Taliban takeover and conflicts in West Asia can cause spillover effects in India. Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a strong platform to resolve such challenges.
  • Combating terrorism, narcotics trade, and weapons trafficking: India has earlier called for “zero tolerance for terrorism in all its manifestations”. The RATS of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization offers a mechanism to deal with terrorism and address issues of state-sponsored terrorism also.
  • Tourism diplomacy: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Heads of State have already expressed their admiration for India’s joint digital exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage earlier. There can be further expansion of tourism in terms of Buddhist connections.

Way Forward

With more than 22% of the global GDP and 45% of the global population, SCO has immense potential to decide the future world order and balance of power. It can play a significant role in Asia and counter the influence of western countries in the region. Hence, it is imperative for India to utilize the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in line with India’s policy of “multi-alignments”. With India hosting the next Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit by assuming the rotational presidency, it can demonstrate its ability to be a responsible great power.


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Plutus IAS current affairs eng med 15th Sep 2022

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