New Delhi/IBNS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in virtual format on Tuesday, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif among the SCO leaders set to attend.
The theme of India’s chairship of the SCO is – SECURE, derived from the acronym given by PM Modi at the 2018 Qingadao SCO Summit.
It stands for S: Security, E: Economic development, C: Connectivity, U: Unity, R: Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, E: Environmental protection.
India has created five new pillars and focus areas of cooperation in SCO, these are Startups and Innovation, Traditional Medicine, Digital Inclusion, Youth Empowerment and Shared Buddhist Heritage.
Two new mechanisms in SCO, the Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation and the Experts Working Group on Traditional Medicine were created on India’s initiative, and India intends to contribute substantially in both these areas.
To further the PM’s vision of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (World is one Family), India emphasised building greater people-to-people connections. A number of signature events were held under India’s Chair of SCO with the intention of further deepening people-to-people connections.
There was an unprecedented level of engagement with the SCO Observers and Dialogue Partners under the Indian Chair with their participation in 14 socio-cultural events.
Events like SCO Film Festival, SCO Millet Food Festival, SCO Cultural showcase at SurajKund Mela, SCO Tourism Mart, Conference on Shared Buddhist Heritage, B2B Conference on Traditional Medicine, SCO International Conference of Think Tanks, were held.
Drawing focus on India’s millenia-old cultural and civilisational heritage, Varanasi was celebrated as the 1st SCO Tourist and Cultural Capital of SCO 2022-23.
Youth Empowerment was another focus area of the Indian chair, where events were held like the Young Authors Conference, Young Scientist Conclave, Startup Forum, SCO Youth Council and Conference, and SCO Resident Researchers Programme where the SCO young scholar from Member State stayed in India for a month to conduct research activities.
On May 4-5, India hosted the Foreign Ministers of SCO in Goa, this was marked by a colourful cultural program and substantive discussions the following day. Goa showcased its warm hospitality, unique culture, and distinct heritage.
India’s association with SCO began in 2005 as an Observer country. India became a full Member State of SCO at the Astana Summit in 2017.
In September 2022, India for the first time, took over the presidency of SCO from Uzbekistan at the Samarkand Summit of SCO.
SCO Member States comprise China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
In addition, Iran, Belarus, and Mongolia have been invited as Observer States.