Samarkand SCO Summit

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    • Recently, the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit was held in Samarkand.

    Meeting highlights

    • Upcoming Presidency of India:
      • Uzbek President chaired the 22nd SCO summit of Samarkand.
      • Uzbekistan in this summit handed over the rotating presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to India.
        • As a result India will host the next SCO summit as a chairman of the Organisation in 2023.
    • Ukraine war:
      • Indian and Chinese leaders expressed their concerns to the Russian President over the Ukraine war 
        • It is reflective of the global worries about the effects of Moscow’s aggression against the interests of people across the planet. 
    • About Indian Economy:
      • Speaking at the SCO summit PM said the Indian economy is expected to grow by 7.5 percent this year and thus will be the highest among the largest economies in the world
      • In his address the prime minister also said India is progressing towards becoming a manufacturing hub.
    • Iran:
      • Iran has been admitted as a permanent member of the SCO at the Samarkand summit.
        • Iran will attend the SCO as a full member from the Summit to be hosted by India in 2023.

    India’s Bilateral meetings on the sidelines of SCO summit

    • India- Russia:
      • Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan pressed him to end the conflict in Ukraine soon, saying “today’s era is not of war”.
    • India- Turkey:
      • The leaders reviewed bilateral relations and appreciated recent gains in bilateral trade. 
      • They also exchanged views on regional & global developments.
      • India has had tense ties with Turkey’s criticism over the Kashmir issue.
    • India-Iran:
      • Both the countries discussed connectivity through Chabahar and energy cooperation
        • But they did not confirm whether India intended to restore oil imports that were cancelled in 2018-2019 due to the threat of U.S. sanctions.

    Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

    • About:
      • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation of Eurasian Nations with a secretariat in Beijing.
    • Aim:
      • It is a political, economic and military organisation that aims at maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.
    • Origin: Journey from Shanghai Five to SCO 
      • 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 to the group in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
      • The SCO Charter was signed in 2002 and entered into force in 2003.
    • Inclusion of India & Pakistan:
      • India and Pakistan both were initially observer states.
      • Both were given full membership in 2017.
    • Iran and Belarus:
      • 2021 SCO summit in Dushanbe agreed for Iran to join in SCO. 
      • Belarus has also begun the membership process for SCO.
    •  

    Member states

    Observer States

    Dialogue Partners

    Kazakhstan

    China

    Kyrgyzstan

    Russia

    Tajikistan

    Uzbekistan

    India

    Pakistan

    Afghanistan

    Belarus

    Iran

    Mongolia

    Azerbaijan

    Armenia

    Cambodia

    Nepal

    Turkey

    Sri Lanka

    • Language: 
      • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
    • Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:
      • 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.

    Significance of Iran’s membership:

    • Iran’s membership:
      • As a country that has been long sanctioned and isolated by the US-led West, Iran, by joining the SCO that accounts for 40 percent of the world’s population and 28 percent of global GDP, could expect a breakthrough in its geopolitical and economic status quo.
    • Iran’s proposal for a single currency:
      • Iran has also approached the SCO with a proposal to create a new single currency for carrying out trade among SCO members, in a push to counter the increasing weaponization of the US dollar-dominated global financial system.
    • For India:
      • Iran’s entry into the SCO will boost India’s Eurasian outreach ensuring seamless coordination between India and Iran. 
      • India also maintains that entry of Iranian oil in the market will address global energy security to some extent.

    Significance of SCO for India

    • India’s upcoming Presidency:
      • India will take over the SCO Presidency in 2023.
      • India will also host the upcoming SCO Summit in 2023, which will be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
    • Varanasi – Cultural and Tourism Capital of SCO:
      • The holy city of Varanasi, showcasing India’s culture and traditions over the ages, will be declared the first “Cultural and Tourism Capital” of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for 2022-23.
      • The new initiative will come into force after the Samarkand summit.
      • It is a new initiative by the eight-member organisation to promote people-to-people contacts and tourism among the member states.
        • The title of ‘Cultural and Tourism Capital’ will be rotated among the member states.
    • Security:
      • RATS can help India to improve its counterterrorism abilities by working toward intelligence sharing, law enforcement and developing best practices and technologies.
      • Through the SCO, India can also work on anti-drug trafficking and small arms proliferation.
    • Regional Integration:
      • SCO can help in achieving regional integration and promote connectivity and stability across borders.
      • Further, it also helps India to have a multilateral talk with friends like Russia and adversaries like China and Pakistan.
    • Geopolitical Advantage:
      • Central Asia is a part of India’s Extended Neighbourhood.
      • And SCO provides India with an opportunity to pursue the “Connect Central Asian Policy”.
      • It will also help India to check on the ever-growing influence of China in Eurasia.

    Source: TH, IE