INDIA TO INVITE IMRAN KHAN FOR SHANGHAI COUNCIL MEET
Context: The Ministry of External Affairs has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan will be invited to participate in the Heads of Government Council meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that will be hosted in India this year.
- As per the established practice and procedure within SCO, all eight members of the SCO, four observer states, and other international dialogue partners are to be invited to attend the meeting
- Since becoming full-time member of the SCOin 2017, both India and Pakistan have participated in multiple meetings of SCO and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) despite hostilities and tension in Kashmir.
- The Heads of Government Council meeting is attended by the Prime Minister-level leaders of the member states that deliberate on the regional body’s economic and other pressing issues.
- The meeting also firms up SCO’s annual budget.
SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation, which was founded in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan in the year 2001.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of SCO is to establish cooperation between member nations on:
- Security-related concerns
- Resolving border issues
- Military cooperation
- Intelligence sharing
- Countering terrorism
- Countering American influence in Central Asia
MEMBERS OF SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION
- SCO members are by and large from or bordering Central Asia. The regional grouping is made up of eight official members (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan).
- Four observers (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia), and a handful of dialogue partners (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka).
- While the organization has primarily been touted as one in which its members can build mutual trust and foster multidimensional cooperation.
- The SCO can also be seen as an entity that reflects shifting power dynamics in this sub region, particularly between China and Russia.
IMPORTANCE OF INDIA’S MEMBERSHIP
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is seen as an eastern counter-balance to NATO.
- With India being its member, it will allow the country to push effective action in combating terrorism and on issues related to security.
- With the presence of India and China, the world’s most populous countries, SCO is now the organisation that has the largest population coverage.
- India’s entry has increased the group’s heft in regional geopolitics and trade negotiations while giving it a pan-Asian hue at the same.