Goa, 4 May 2023 (TDI): Council of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Foreign Ministers’ meeting is taking place in Goa, under India’s SCO Chairmanship. India assumed SCO chairmanship in September 2022.
India has unfolded a new chapter of engagements with the SCO region.
Historically, India has always maintained amicable relations with SCO countries. With its vibrant multi-dimensional foreign policy, goodwill, and mutual trust, India is playing a proactive role in the SCO region.
SCO, an eight-member intergovernmental, multilateral organization, has received global attention since its inception. The organization has brought together Eurasian space, also known as the heartland of global geostrategy.
India joined SCO in June 2017 at the historic summit in Astana. Since then, it has asserted its leadership role through its enterprising interest. In 2020, it hosted a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government, which is the second highest decision-making body in SCO.
India has aligned its interests with SCO’s vision for the region. It envisions engaging with member countries to ensure stability and growth.
India’s interests in the SCO region
With its chairmanship of the organization, India has made numerous engagements within the country and region.
India has put forward SCO 2023 theme, i.e., “SECURE-SCO.” India is deeply invested in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic, and cultural exchange in the region.
The ongoing engagements of India with its SCO partners have merited the country with economic, social, and political benefits. The engagements have also helped India enhance relations with countries with which India shares civilizational linkages.
SCO is based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. It stands for non-interference in internal affairs, equality of all member States and mutual understanding and respect for each member country.
Promoting mutual economic and political interests
With its visionary approach, India is set to provide a platform for member countries to advance their respective interests. Its main goal is strengthening mutual confidence and amiable neighborly relations among the member countries.
Among others, India has a high focus on promoting cooperation in politics, economy, science and technology culture, and education. It also advocates for enhancing cooperation in the transportation and tourism sector.
Furthermore, the protection of the environment is also on India’s agenda for the region.
Ensuring peace, security, and stability in the region
Regional security has been a prime concern for India. It has repeatedly asserted a need to stop terrorism, radicalism, and violent movements. Contact and dialogues between leaders are critical to ensuring peace.
The cultural hub
India has paved the way to promote culture, tourism, and humanitarian exchange between India and member countries. Through SCO’s multilateral forum, it has advanced its ancient civilizational links with SCO member states, especially with the Central Asian Republic.
Kashi became the first-ever SCO Tourist and Cultural Capital (2022-23). It’s one of the oldest living cities in the world. Kashi has been a great center of learning, spiritualism, and mysticism since time immemorial.
Through the promotion of culture and tourism, India is traversing toward creating a global soft
Fostering people-to-people contact
India has been establishing people-to-people contact with its numerous meetings held under India’s leadership of SCO.
A few of the events held by India include the SCO millet food festival, young authors conference, Surajkund mela, SCO film festival, international conference on Buddhist heritage, SCO’S first global conference, and Expo on traditional medicines, young scientists’ conclave, seminar on capacity building in SCO nation through skilling and miscellaneous.
The aim of such events is to transform the population into a competitive workforce.
What lies ahead?
With the chairmanship of SCO, India is on its way up the ladder. It is unraveling itself as a global leader strategically and diplomatically. India is fully aware that the collaboration of SCO member states will improve its trade relations in the region and beyond.
India is earning the title of reliable trade partner, especially in the Central Asian Republics. It is holding onto the notion of resolving a disagreement with other countries through diplomatic channels and open communication.
With its SECURE SCO ambition, India is set to take a flight to higher grounds.