Title : SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION
Date : Nov 26, 2021
Based on a News Article published in the ‘The Hindu’ on 26th November 2021 on Page Number 10
Useful for UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains (GS Paper II)
What exactly is Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
- It is a permanent intergovernmental international agency.
- It's a political, economic, and military organisation based in Eurasian that aims to keep the region safe, secure, and stable.
- It was founded in the year 2001.
- In 2002, the SCO Charter was signed, and it went into effect in 2003.
- It is a legal document that specifies the organization's objectives, principles, structure, and primary activities.
- Russian and Chinese are the official languages of the SCO.
Genesis of SCO:
- Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five prior to the formation of the SCO in 2001.
- The Shanghai Five (1996) developed from a series of border delineation and demilitarisation agreements between China and the four former Soviet republics to assure border stability.
- The Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO after the addition of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001.
- In 2017, India and Pakistan were admitted as members.
Member Nations of SCO:
Observer Nations of SCO:
Dialogue Partner Nations of SCO:
- Sri Lanka
Objectives of SCO:
- The member states' mutual trust and neighbourliness are being strengthened.
- Promoting successful cooperation in the areas of politics, commerce and economy, research and development, and culture.
- Strengthening linkages in areas such as education, energy, transportation, tourism, and environmental protection, among others.
- Maintain and ensure regional peace, security, and stability.
- Establishment of a new international political and economic order that is democratic, fair, and reasonable.
- The Shanghai Spirit serves as a guiding principle.
- Joint trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual discussions, tolerance for cultural variety, and a desire for common progress underpin internal policy.
- Non-alignment, non-targeting of any third country, and openness are the ideals that guide foreign policy.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's Structure:
- The SCO's top body, the Heads of State Council, decides on the organization's internal operations as well as its interactions with other countries and international organisations. It also considers international concerns.
- Heads of Government Council - Approves the budget, considers, and makes decisions on topics relating to SCO's economic areas of interaction.
- The Council of Foreign Ministers considers problems that affect day-to-day operations.
- RATS (Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure) — Created to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism in the region.
- The SCO Secretariat is based in Beijing and is responsible for providing information, analysis, and organisational support.
Operations/Functions of SCO:
- The SCO's initial focus was on intraregional cooperation to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism in Central Asia.
- The SCO's goal was expanded in 2006 to include combating transnational drug trafficking as a source of global financing.
- In 2008, the SCO played a key role in restoring stability in Afghanistan.
- Simultaneously, the SCO engaged in a number of economic endeavours, including:
- In 2003, SCO member states agreed to a 20-year Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation Programme for the creation of a free trade zone within their respective territories.
Significance of SCO:
- The SCO encompasses 40% of the world's population, approximately 20% of global GDP, and 22% of the planet's land mass.
- Due to its geographical significance, the SCO plays a strategic role in Asia, allowing it to govern Central Asia and limit American influence in the region.
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is considered as a counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Issues associated with SCO:
- Terrorism, extremism, and separatism are among the SCO's security difficulties, as are drug and arms trafficking, illegal immigration, and other issues.
- Despite their proximity in terms of geography, the SCO's decision-making is complicated by the great diversity of its members' histories, backgrounds, languages, national interests, forms of government, riches, and culture.
Significance of SCO for India:
- India's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) can aid regional integration, connectivity, and cross-border stability.
- India's counter-terrorism capabilities can be improved through RATS by focusing on intelligence sharing, law enforcement, and the development of best practises and technologies.
- India can also work on anti-drug trafficking and small arms proliferation through the SCO.
- Collaboration on common terrorism and radicalism challenges.
- As an energy-scarce country with rising energy demands, the SCO presents India with the potential to address its energy needs through regional diplomacy.
- The SCO might provide a much-needed boost to talks on the construction of delayed pipelines such as the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline and the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline.
- The SCO provides direct access to Central Asia, removing the biggest impediment to trade between India and Central Asia thriving.
- The SCO serves as a detour to Central Asia.
- Helps in enhancing the economic ties of India's IT, telecommunications, banking, finance, and pharmaceutical industries with major markets in Central Asian countries.
- India's Extended Neighbourhood includes Central Asia, and the SCO allows India to continue its "Connect Central Asian Policy."
- Aids India in achieving its goal of playing an active role in its wider neighbourhood while also limiting China's growing influence in Eurasia.
- India will use this platform to engage with both its traditional ally, Russia, and its adversaries, China and Pakistan.
Issues associated with India’s Membership at SCO:
- India may face difficulties as a result of Pakistan's admission to the SCO.
- Because China and Russia are co-founders of the SCO and its main powers, India's ability to assert itself would be limited, and it may be forced to play second fiddle.
- As the SCO has generally had an anti-Western stance, India may have to either diminish its expanding alliance with the West or engage in a delicate balancing act.
Tags : Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan