SCO International Conference on “Shared Buddhist Heritage”


    In Context

    • Recently, the first international conference of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Shared Buddhist Heritage was held in New Delhi.


    • Nodal Ministry: It was organized by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of External Affairs and the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC-as a grantee body of the Ministry of Culture). 
    • Aim: To re-establish trans-cultural links and seek out commonalities, between Buddhist art of Central Asia, art styles, archaeological sites and antiquity in various museum collections of the SCO countries. 
    • Focus of the Conference: India’s civilizational connection with the SCO nations. 


    • The event, under India’s leadership of SCO has brought together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and Arab countries on a common platform to discuss Shared Buddhist Heritage.
    • It will not only celebrate Buddhist common heritage but will also build stronger and deeper bonds amongst the countries.

    Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

    • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation of Eurasian Nations with a secretariat in Beijing.
    • It is a political, economic and military organisation that aims at maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.
    • Shanghai Five emerged in 1996 from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks between 4 former USSR republics and China.
    • Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
    • With the accession of Uzbekistan in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
    • The SCO Charter was signed in 2002 and entered into force in 2003. India and Pakistan both were initially observer states. Both were given full membership in 2017.
    • 2021 SCO summit in Dushanbe agreed for Iran to join the SCO. 
    • Belarus has also begun the membership process for SCO.
    • The SCO currently comprises of eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka 
    • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

    Structure of the Organization

    • Heads of State Council:
      • It is the supreme SCO body that decides its internal functioning and its interaction with other States & international organisations.
        • It also considers contemporary international issues.
    • Heads of Government Council:
      • It approves the budget, considers and decides upon issues related to economic spheres of interaction within SCO.
    • Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs:
      • It considers issues related to day-to-day activities.
    • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS):
      • It was established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.
    • SCO Secretariat: 
      • It is based in Beijing. 
      • It provides informational, analytical & organisational support.