The SCO is a success story that can get better


    The SCO is a success story that can get better

    Syllabus: GS2/ India & Foreign Relations, International Organisations & Groupings

    In News

    • Recently, India successfully hosted the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). 

    Highlights of the 23rd Meeting of SCO’s Council of Heads of State 

    • Leaders of the SCO member-states signed the New Delhi Declaration.
    • They issued statements on countering radicalisation and exploring cooperation in digital transformation
    • It also adopted the SCO’s economic development strategy for the period until 2030.
    • Iran and Belarus:
      • The summit granted Iran full SCO membership
      • The memorandum of obligations was signed for Belarus to join the SCO as a member-state.

    Significance of SCO

    • Shared interests:
      • Over the years, the SCO has been committed to becoming a community with a shared future for mankind, firmly supporting each other in upholding their core interests, and synergising their national development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives. 
      • Member-states have carried forward the spirit of good neighbourliness and friendship, and built partnerships featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, and cooperation instead of alliance. 
    • Peace, development and win-win cooperation:
      • The SCO has been a guardian of and contributor to regional peace, stability and prosperity. 
      • These achievements manifest the common aspirations of all countries so that there is peace, development and win-win cooperation. 
    • Significance of SCO for India:
      • 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.
      • 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.


    • Going forward in a new era, the SCO member-states should 
      • Strengthen strategic communication, 
      • Deepen practical cooperation, and 
      • Support each other’s development and rejuvenation.
    • Security & cooperation:
      • SCO member-states need to upgrade security cooperation, and crack down in a decisive manner on terrorism, separatism and extremism, and transnational organised crimes
      • We need to pursue cooperation in digital, biological and outer space security, and facilitate political settlement when it comes to international and regional hot-spot issues.
    • Shared trade, economic growth & prosperity:
      • We should embrace win-win cooperation to chart a path to shared prosperity. 
      • Protectionism, unilateral sanctions and decoupling undermine people’s well-being all over the world. 
      • It is imperative for the SCO to generate stronger momentum for collaboration in trade, investment, technology, climate actions, infrastructure and people-to-people engagement. 
      • To contribute to high-quality and resilient economic growth of the region, there need to be collective efforts to scale up local currency settlement between SCO members, expand cooperation on sovereign digital currency, and promote the establishment of an SCO development bank.
    • Need for multilateralism:
      • We should advocate multilateralism to shape our common destiny. 
      • The SCO needs more engagements with its observer states, dialogue partners and other regional and international organisations such as the United Nations, to uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law.

    Way ahead

    • The SCO’s success story is part of the broader global partnership of emerging economies and developing countries. We are increasingly acting as a progressive force for world fairness and justice. 
    • Over the next two months, South Africa and India will preside over the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and G-20 summits, respectively. 
      • These will be significant moments to shape a multi-polar world order, promote inclusive global development, and improve international governance architecture.

    Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

    • About:
      • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation of Eurasian Nations with a secretariat in Beijing.
        • Over the years, it has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations. 
    • 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.
    • Members:
      • Kazakhstan
      • China
      • Kyrgyzstan
      • Russia
      • Tajikistan
      • Uzbekistan
      • India
      • Pakistan (India and Pakistan both were initially observer states. Both were given full membership in 2017).
      • Iran
    • 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.


    Daily Mains Question

    [Q] What is the Significance of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for India & its member states? What more can be achieved through this geo-political platform?