- The Indian Prime Minister will soon attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to be held in Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai in 2001 by six countries, People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- The main objectives of the SCO are to:
- Strengthen relations among member states;
- Promote cooperation in political affairs, economics and trade, scientific-technical, cultural, and educational spheres as well as in energy, transportation, tourism, and environmental protection;
- Safeguard regional peace, security, and stability;
- Create a democratic, equitable international political and economic order.
- With assistance from the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, SCO members have developed an intergovernmental agreement on facilitating international road transport.
Background to India’s membership of the group:
- After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Shanghai Five was created in 1996 with five members i.e. China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included.
- From 2009 onwards, Russia officially supported India’s ambition to join the SCO and with its support, India finally entered into SCO.
- Also, with China’s support, its all-weather friend, Pakistan also entered into the group.
- SCO inducted both India and Pakistan in Astana in Kazakhstan in 2017.
Significance of India’s SCO membership
- Counter-terrorism and connectivity
- Access to intelligence and information from SCO’s counter-terrorism body, Regional Anti Terror Structure (RATS)
- Significant for a stable Afghanistan, which is in India’s interest
- Significant for India’s Connect Central Asia policy
- Energy cooperation
- SCO membership also bolsters India’s status as a major pan-Asian player
Role of SCO in India-Pakistan
- In the absence of the SAARC summit, the SCO summit gives an opportunity for Indian and Pakistani leaders to meet informally, on the sidelines.
- It give both the nations opportunity to cooperate on issues of mutual interest and importance.
- Signing off on joint counter-terrorism exercises will provide a new form of engagement between the two militaries.
Role of SCO in India-China relationship
- SCO gives an another opportunity to the two countries to bring down tensions between them.