Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
What is SCO?
- SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
- It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
- It was created in 2001.
- The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
- It is a statutory document which outlines the organization’s goals and principles, as well as its structure and core activities.
- The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
- Dialogue Partner
- Sri Lanka
- Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
- Promoting effective cooperation in -politics, trade & economy, research & technology and culture.
- Enhancing ties in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.
- Maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
- Establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political & economic order.
Guiding Principle – Based on Shanghai Spirit
- Internal policy based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for common development.
- External policy in accordance with the principles of non-alignment, non-targeting any third country, and openness.
Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:
Heads of State Council – The supreme SCO body which decides its internal functioning and its interaction with other States & international organisations, and considers international issues.
Heads of Government Council – Approves the budget, considers and decides upon issues related economic spheres of interaction within SCO.
Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs – Considers issues related to day-to-day activities.
Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) – Established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism
SCO Secretariat – Based in Beijing to provide informational, analytical & organisational support.
Initially, the SCO focused on mutual intraregional efforts to curb terrorism, separatism and extremism in Central Asia.
In 2006, SCO’s agenda widened to include combatting international drug trafficking as a source of financing global.
In 2008, SCO actively participated in bringing back stability in Afghanistan.
At the same time, the SCO took up a variety of economic activities:
In 2003, SCO member states signed a 20-year Programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation for the establishment of a free trade zone within the territory under the SCO member states.
Strengths of SCO
The SCO covers 40%of the global population, nearly 20% of the global GDP and 22% of the world’s land mass.
The SCO has a strategically important role in Asia due to its geographical significance – this enables it to control the Central Asia and limit the American influence in region.
SCO is seen as counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
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