Recently, PM Modi visited Samarkand, Uzbekistan to attend the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
- PM Modi participated in the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO.
- Samarkand Declaration of the Council of Heads of State of SCO was released after the summit.
- After the summit, Uzbekistan handed over the rotating presidency of the SCO to India. India will host the next SCO summit as a chairman of organisation in 2023.
About the SCO –
- SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, created in June 2001 in Shanghai (China).
- 6 Founding members included Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- This organisation represents approximately 42% of the world’s population, 22% of its land area and 20% of its GDP.
- In 2021 summit held in Dushanbe, members decided to include Iran as a full member.
- Before 2021, SCO had four observer states. This included – Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
- In 2021, Iran became a full member and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar were added as new observer states. Hence, currently, SCO has 6 observer states namely — Afghanistan, Belarus, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.
Decisions taken –
- Decision on the Comprehensive Action Plan for 2023-2027 for implementation of provisions of the Treaty on Long-Term Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation among the Member States.
- This was the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Long-term Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States.
- Decision to Develop Interconnectivity and Create Efficient Transport Corridors among members states.
- Decision on inclusion of new members —
- Iran to become a member State of the SCO
- Iran was admitted in SCO in 2021 and will become full member in 2023.
- Launched the procedure of admitting Belarus as a member of the SCO.
- Granting Maldives, Bahrain, Myanmar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the status of SCO dialogue partner.
- Tourist and Cultural Capital of the SCO in 2022-2023 —
- The member countries decided to declare Varanasi, India, as the Tourist and Cultural Capital of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2022-2023.
- In 2021 summit, it was decided to nominate SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital with an objective of promoting cooperation in the field of culture and tourism.
- Hence, Varanasi became the first Cultural capital of SCO.
- In Order to increase the cooperation with UNESCO, member countries of SCO decided to sign an MoU between the Secretariat of the SCO and the UNESCO (2023-2027).
Other areas of cooperation –
- Member countries signed agreement on cooperation in various fields including — Tourism, Museum affairs, Digital Literacy Development, Artificial Intelligence and Telemedicine.
- Programme of Cooperation in the Use of Renewable Energy Sources was signed the between Member States.
- Action Plan for Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Priority Areas (2022-2025) was also finalised.
- The leaders also finalised the concept of interaction between member states in the field of smart agriculture and agro- innovation.