At SCO Meet, Jaishankar Targets Bri

26-08-2023

12:18 PM

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At SCO Meet, Jaishankar Targets Bri Blog Image

What’s in today’s article:

  • SCO – About, observers
  • News Summary

 

Why in news?

  • The 21st Meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) was held on 01 November 2022 in the virtual format.
  • The SCO CHG meeting held annually focuses on the trade and economic agenda of the Organization and approves its annual budget.

 

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  • SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, created in June 2001 in Shanghai (China).
  • Founding members included Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • This organization represents approximately 42% of the world’s population, 22% of its land area and 20% of its GDP.
  • SCO comprised eight member states, namely India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
    • In 2021 summit held in Dushanbe, members decided to include Iran as a full member.

 

Observers

  • 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.

 

News Summary

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar represented India in a virtual meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government.
  • It was hosted by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang since the Council of Heads of Government is chaired by China.

 

India’s stand at the meeting

  • On connectivity projects in the SCO region
    • Connectivity projects in the SCO region should focus on the interests of Central Asian states and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.
    • India said better connectivity will unlock the economic potential of the SCO region.
    • In this context, Iran’s Chabahar port and the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) could become enablers.
      • India has developed a terminal at Chabahar port and there are plans to integrate the strategic port with INSTC.
      • The port has also played a key role in the trans-shipment of goods from Russia to India following the start of the Ukraine war.
  • India did not support China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
    • India was the only SCO member state that did not reaffirm support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in a joint communique issued after the meeting.
      • Other countries reaffirmed their support for China’s BRI and to work jointly to implement the project.
    • India has for long opposed the BRI because a key part of it – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) - passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • On trade with SCO members
    • Indian EAM said that our total trade with SCO Members is only $141 billion, which has potential to increase manifold.
      • The bulk of India’s trade with SCO countries is with China, which crossed $100 billion this year.
    • Fair market access is to our mutual benefit and only way to move forward.
    • He also reiterated India’s commitment to deepen multilateral cooperation in areas such as food and energy security, climate change and trade.
  • On Mission LiFE (Lifestyle For Environment)
    • EAM also spoke about Mission LiFE launched by PM Modi, which envisions replacing the prevalent ‘use and dispose’ economy by a circular economy.
    • He highlighted that in 2023, the UN International Year of Millets, India intends to foster greater cooperation with SCO member states on countering the food crisis.
  • On India’s ongoing chairship of the SCO
    • India assumed the chairmanship of the grouping following the summit held in Uzbekistan.
      • The 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO was held in Uzbekistan in September 2022.
      • India will host the next SCO summit (Meeting of Council of Heads of State) as a chairman of organisation in 2023.
    • This was the first meeting of the SCO since India took over the bloc’s rotating presidency.
      • The current meeting, hosted by China, was the meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government.