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SCO Defence Ministers’ Meeting


Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, India participated in the SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, emphasizing its commitment to peace, stability, and zero tolerance towards terrorism.

Key Outcomes of the Meeting

  • Embracing the ethos of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, resonating with the ancient Indian principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, reflecting a shared commitment to global harmony and cooperation.
  • India reaffirmed its unwavering dedication to upholding peace, stability, and security within the SCO region, emphasizing mutual cooperation among member states.
  • India advocated for a resolute stance against terrorism in all its manifestations, recognizing it as a fundamental obstacle to the prosperity and progress of SCO nations.
  • India reiterated its longstanding proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations, underlining the necessity of concerted global efforts to combat terrorism effectively.
  • India reiterated the significance of the ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)’ framework, originally proposed for the Indo-Pacific region, highlighting its relevance and applicability within the SCO context as well.

 

About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

·       Established on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai, by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

·     Originated from the Shanghai Five mechanism.

·     Currently comprises 9 Member States: India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

·     Official languages are Russian and Chinese.

·     The organization operates through two standing bodies: the Secretariat in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent.

Goals:

·       Strengthen mutual trust, friendship, and good neighbourliness among Member States.

·       Encourage effective cooperation in politics, trade, economy, science and technology, culture, education, energy, transport, tourism, and environmental protection.

·       Jointly ensure and maintain peace, security, and stability in the region.

·       Promote a new democratic, fair, and rational international political and economic order.

·       International Collaborations: SCO has established partnerships with various organizations, including the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), UN bodies like ESCAP and UNODC, UNESCO, FAO, WTO, and others.

 

India and SCO

·       India joined the SCO as a full-fledged Member State in 2017 and has since actively engaged with the organization, contributing to various mechanisms and initiatives.

·       India has proactively put forth proposals aimed at benefiting all SCO Member States, Observers, and Dialogue Partners, focusing on mutual cooperation and development.

·       The SCO serves as a platform for India to safeguard, advance, and showcase its interests in both Central Asian and South Asian regions, including addressing security concerns related to state-sponsored terrorism.

·       During its presidency in 2023, India emphasized the exploration of new areas of development within the SCO, such as startups, innovation, traditional medicine, digital inclusion, and youth empowerment.

·       India introduced two new mechanisms—the Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation and the Expert Working Group on Traditional Medicine—demonstrating its commitment to regional economic and social transformation.

·       India advocated for the adoption of the ‘SECURE’ theme during its presidency, focusing on security, economic development, regional connectivity, unity, sovereignty, integrity, and environmental protection.

·       India’s demand for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled peace process received backing from SCO Central Asian members and Russia, highlighting its diplomatic efforts within the organization.

·       India has strengthened its cooperation with Central Asian Republics through agreements on counterterrorism, security cooperation, and defense, showcasing tangible progress achieved within the SCO framework.

·       India’s investments in projects like the Chabahar Port and the International North-South Transport Corridor aim to enhance regional connectivity, providing an alternative to Chinese-led initiatives while emphasizing consultation, transparency, and reliability.

 

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