SCO Defence Ministers’ Meeting

In News

  • Recently, India participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting which was held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Key Outcomes of Meeting

  • The SCO Defence Ministers agreed to develop the idea of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, rooted in the ancient Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.
  • India reiterated its steadfast commitment to maintaining peace, stability, and security in the SCO region.
  • India emphasized the need to adopt a zero-tolerance approach toward terrorism in all its forms for the prosperity and development of the SCO Member States.
  • India highlighted its long-standing proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations.
  • India also underscored the concept of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)’, proposed by India for the Indo-Pacific.

About Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO )

  • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization established on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai (PRC) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • Its predecessor was the mechanism of the Shanghai Five.
  • Composition: Currently, the SCO countries include: 9 Member States — the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • The official languages of the SCO are Russian and Chinese.
  • The Organization has 2 standing bodies — the Secretariat in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent.

The goals of the SCO are:

  • To strengthen mutual trust, friendship, and good neighborliness between the Member States;
  • To encourage effective cooperation between the Member States in such spheres as politics, trade, economy, science and technology, culture, education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.
  • To jointly ensure and maintain peace, security, and stability in the region; and
  • To promote a new democratic, fair, and rational international political and economic international order.
  • International Collaborations: The SCO has established partnerships with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Tourism Organization (WTO),

India and SCO

  • India has been actively participating in SCO and providing substantial support to various mechanisms in the forum.
  • Since its accession as a full-fledged Member State in 2017, India has maintained an active engagement with the organization.
  • India is focusing on initiating proposals for the mutual benefit of the SCO Member States, Observers, and Dialogue Partners.
  • The SCO offers India the chance to safeguard, advance, and showcase its geostrategic and geoeconomic pursuits in the Central Asian and South Asian regions.
  • India used the SCO as a platform to secure its northern border from Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism.
  • During the 2023 presidency, India took a strong stance to promote new areas of development, including startups and innovation, traditional medicine, digital inclusion, youth empowerment, and the shared Buddhist heritage among most of the SCO member states.
  • India established two new mechanisms—the Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation and the Expert Working Group on Traditional Medicine—significantly demonstrating New Delhi’s dedication to contributing to regional economic and social transformations.
  • The Summit adopted the ‘SECURE’ SCO theme, where S stands for security of citizens; E for economic development for all; C for connecting the region; U for uniting the people; R for respect for sovereignty and integrity; and E for environmental protection.
  • India’s demand for “an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” peace process received support from all SCO Central Asian members and Russia.
  • The agreements on counterterrorism, security cooperation, and defense between India and the Central Asian Republics further demonstrated the significant progress made by New Delhi through the SCO.
  • The Chinese BRI projects have created a debt crisis and violated the sovereignty and integrity of SCO countries.
  • To overcome the China-Pakistan axis, New Delhi invested in Chabahar Port and the 7,200-km long International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
  • These connectivity initiatives led by New Delhi are consultive, transparent, economical, and reliable.