Narendra Modi introduced the concept of FOR A SECURE SCO at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in China in 2018. He explained the SECURE concept by saying that ‘S’ for security of citizens, E’ for economic development, ‘Connectivity in region’, ‘U’ for unity, ‘R’ for respect for sovereignty and integrity, and ‘E’ stood for environmental protection. This is the theme of the SCO summit in 2023. In the summit to be held in September this year, prominent leaders of all the member countries will come to India. SCO countries have their own importance in the changing global economic-political scenario.
India under its chairmanship can raise the matter of finding a solution through talks regarding the situation of ongoing conflict on LAC with China. India has good and old relations with Russia. There is also a strategic relationship between the two countries. Right now, since Russia is embroiled in a war with Ukraine, India has not supported the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the European Union. India has not supported the resolution condemning Russia even in the United Nations. In such a situation, Russia’s faith in India has increased further. Both countries can negotiate for mutual cooperation, especially in the field of defense and India can negotiate import of crude oil from Russia at cheap prices.
207 sites of SCO member countries in the list of UNESCO World Heritage The eight member countries of SCO represent about 42% of the world’s population and 25% of the global GDP. There are immense possibilities of tourism in this area. Which can be promoted by increasing awareness about SCO countries. The total cultural heritage of SCO member states, observers and partners includes 207 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tajikistan has chaired the first meeting on drafting the SCO economic development strategy till 2030. Under this, investment, financial, trade and other areas of economic cooperation among the member countries will be strategically outlined.
‘Kashi’ (Varanasi) is the first cultural capital of SCO, this year India is hosting the second meeting of Tourism Expert Working Group of SCO on 14 and 15 March in Varanasi. In this meeting, a joint action plan was discussed for the implementation of the agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on the development of cooperation in tourism. Experts from all the member countries of SCO talked about prioritizing various activities under the areas of cooperation. Which includes promotion of SCO tourism brand, promotion of cultural heritage of member countries, sharing of information and digital technology, promotion of tourism etc. Increasing mutual cooperation in the field of medicine and health, emphasis was laid on improving the quality of services. Since the corona infection, the tourism sector of all these member countries has suffered a lot of economic damage.
Due to this, the economy of China has suffered the most. At the same time, the tourism sector in India contributes 8 percent to the GDP. After consultations with all the member countries, the action plan prepared by the experts will be finalized in the SCO Tourism Ministers’ Meeting (TMM) to be held in Varanasi on March 17 and 18. Please inform that ‘Kashi’ (Varanasi) has been designated as the first cultural capital of SCO. Its objective is to highlight and showcase the cultural wealth of SCO member states and to recognize the value of culture as a resource for the socioeconomic development of the region. Explain that to showcase the possibilities of tourism in SCO countries, it has been decided to nominate one city as tourism and cultural capital every year.
Emphasis on promotion of community development activities in the Youth Council On the other hand, on Tuesday i.e. March 14, the 16th meeting of the SCO Youth Council was held in New Delhi in hybrid mode. The meeting of the SCO Youth Council was inaugurated by Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur. During this, youth representatives of the member countries participated. Everyone emphasized on promoting and participating in community development activities for the betterment of the society. All member states appreciated the work of the SCO Youth Council of India and expressed their gratitude to India for the hospitality and high-level organization of the SCO Youth Summit and the SCO Youth Council meeting in New Delhi.
Discussion on TAPI project after two decades
On Tuesday, March 14, in the meeting between the energy ministers of the SCO, talks were held to take forward the gas pipeline project between India, Iran and Pakistan and the TAPI project between Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India. All the eight member countries have talked about developing this connecting projects. Everyone talked about cooperation in the production and supply of biofuel. Let us inform that the concept of TAPI project was implemented two decades ago but India did not show interest in it later. But now in view of the changing global economic-political relations, it can be taken forward again.
Discussion on making the justice system smart in all member countries
Earlier on March 10 and 12, the 18th meeting of the Presidents/Chief Justices of the Supreme Courts of SCO member countries was chaired in New Delhi. Representatives of the Supreme Courts of India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyz, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the presidents of the Supreme Courts of the observer countries – Belarus and Iran, as well as representatives of the SCO Secretariat and the Executive Committee of the RATS. including digitizing the court system, "Smart" Discussed issues of creating courts, the future of judicial power, ensuring equal access to justice and transparency, and techniques to combat law-enforcement problems.
All emphasized that practical cooperation among the Supreme Courts of SCO member states should enable them to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, strengthen justice, strengthen law and order and advance judicial and legal reform For their joint efforts will help to improve. After the meeting, the participants also issued a joint statement. The next regular meeting of the Presidents of the Supreme Courts of the SCO member states will be held under the chairmanship of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2024.
What does the chairmanship mean for India
First, from a regional perspective – how India positions itself as the SCO’s first South Asian country amid tensions along the Sino-Indian border and politically unstable neighbor Pakistan will be crucial for the region.
Secondly, if seen from the geopolitical point of view, New Delhi can be seen adopting its policy towards Central Asia afresh. It is also important from the point of view of making India reach towards Central Asian countries.
Third, the chairmanship of the SCO precedes India’s non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council. Along with this, India is hosting the G-20 summit. would thus reflect any continuity or change in India’s understanding of multilateralism and its behavior in international and regional organisations.