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PIB Summaries 23 March 2024

  1. Shanghai Cooperation Organization
  2. IMT Trilateral Exercise


The fourth edition of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Startup Forum was organized on 19th March 2024 in New Delhi.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the SCO? 
  2. Organizational structure of SCO

What is the SCO? 

  • Founded in June 2001, it was built on the ‘Shanghai Five’, the grouping which consisted of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
  • They came together in the post-Soviet era in 1996, in order to work on regional security, reduction of border troops and terrorism.
  • They endowed particular focus on ‘conflict resolution’, given its early success between China and Russia, and then within the Central Asian Republics.
  • Some of their prominent outcomes in this arena entail an ‘Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field Along the Border Areas’ (in 1996) between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which led to an agreement on the mutual reduction of military forces on their common borders in 1997.
  • It would also pitch in to help the Central Asian countries resolve some of their boundary disputes. 
  • In 2001, the ‘Shanghai Five’ inducted Uzbekistan into its fold and named it the SCO, outlining its principles in a charter that promoted what was called the “Shanghai spirit” of cooperation.
  • The precise assertion, combined with some of the member states’ profiles, of building a “new international political and economic order” has often led to it being placed as a counter to treaties and groupings of the West, particularly North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Member states
  • India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • The SCO also has four observer states — Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus and Mongolia — of which Iran and Belarus are now moving towards full membership. 

Main goals

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states;
  • Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, economy, research and technology, and culture.

Focus areas:

  • Education, energy, transport, tourism and environmental protection.
  • It also calls for joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.
Organizational structure of SCO

The SCO secretariat has two permanent bodies —

  • SCO Secretariat based in Beijing 
  • Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.

Other than this, the grouping consists of

Heads of State Council (HSC):

  • It is the supreme decision-making body of the organisation.
  • It meets annually to adopt decisions and guidelines on all important matters relevant to the organisation.

Heads of Government Council (HGC):

  • The HGC (mainly including Prime Ministers) also meets annually to zero in on the organisation’s priority areas and multilateral cooperation strategy.
  • It also endeavours to resolve present economic and cooperation issues alongside approving the organisation’s annual budget. 

Foreign Ministers Council:

  • The Foreign Ministers Council considers issues pertaining to the day-to-day activities of the organisation, charting HSC meetings and consultations on international problems within the organisation and if required, makes statements on behalf of the SCO. 


INS Tir and INS Sujata will participate in the forthcoming edition of India Mozambique Tanzania (IMT) TriLateral (TRILAT) Exercise.


GS III: Security Challenges

IMT Trilateral Exercise: An Overview

  • IMT Trilateral Exercise is a joint maritime exercise.
  • The exercise is scheduled to take place from 21st to 29th March 2024.

Historical Context:

  • The inaugural edition of the IMT TRILAT exercise was held in October 2022.
  • The first edition featured participation from INS Tarkash along with the Navies of Tanzania and Mozambique.
Current Edition Details:
  • The exercise is divided into two distinct phases.
    • Harbour Phase (21st-24th March 2024):
      • Naval ships Tir and Sujata will interact with the Tanzanian and Mozambique Navies at the ports of Zanzibar and Maputo respectively.
      • Activities during this phase will include a Planning Conference and joint training sessions covering:
        • Damage Control
        • Fire Fighting
        • Visit Board Search and Seizure procedures
        • Medical Lectures
        • Casualty Evacuation
        • Diving operations
  • Sea Phase:
    • This phase focuses on practical training against asymmetric threats.
    • Activities include:
      • Visit Board Search and Seizure procedures
      • Boat handling
      • Manoeuvres
      • Firing exercises
    • Additionally, a joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance operation is planned.


  • The exercise will wrap up with a joint debrief session in Nacala, Mozambique.
Cultural and Interactional Activities:
  • During their stay in the harbours, Indian Naval ships will be open for public visits.
  • The Indian Navy will also engage in sports and cultural exchanges with the host Navies to foster camaraderie and mutual understanding.

April 2024