Context:

The 21st Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State was held via video Conferencing in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Organizations and groupings, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
  2. Highlights of the 21st Summit of the SCO

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance which was formed in 2001 in Shanghai, China.
  • The SCO is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.
  • The leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan were involved in the formation. (Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.)
  • India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members in 2017. (India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.)
  • Iran has been accepted as the ninth full member of the organization in the 21st Summit in 2021.
  • Official Languages of the SCO are Russian and Chinese.
  • SCO Secretariat in Beijing and Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent are the Permanent Bodies of the SCO.
  • The Chairmanship of the SCO is by rotation for a year by Member States.
  • The Headquarters of the SCO is in Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.
  • The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the Organisation
  • The SCO is widely regarded as the “alliance of the East”, due to its growing centrality in Asia-Pacific. It is seen as a counterweight to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), It is a nine-member economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.
  • The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
  • The Council of Heads of Government is the second-highest council in the organisation.
  • Military exercises are also regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.

Highlights of the 21st Summit of the SCO

  • At the meet the focus was primarily on the ground situation in Afghanistan and its global repercussions.
  • Iran has been accepted as the ninth full member of the organisation.
  • India took a strong stance against radicalisation and extremism, urging the panel to come up with a joint approach and frame a code of conduct to stop terror financing and cross-border terrorism. It also stressed upon the importance of moderate Islam in Central Asia.
  • India also flagged concerns over the serious humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, noting that the economic woes of the Afghan people are increasing due to the blockage in financial and trade flows.
  • India pointed out that the developments in the country could lead to an uncontrolled flow of drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking.

-Source: Indian Express, PIB

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