The Indian delegation led by Minister of State for Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma participates in the 15th Meeting of the Cultural Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States held in Sanya, Hainan province, on 16th and 17th May 2018.
KEY-FACTS OF THE MEET
- The two-day Meeting assumes importance for India as India has participated for the first time at the Meeting of Cultural Ministers of the SCO.
- The important discussion of the SCO meeting focused on achieving more in-depth and creative multilateral cultural cooperation while also promoting the regional cultural cooperation and mutual understanding of the people.
- All the participating members agreed that cultural cooperation between SCO member states made remarkable progress in the past year, and reports presented at the meeting about diversified exchanges and cooperation clearly showed that bilateral and multilateral cooperation is growing deeper and wider.
- The meeting concluded with the issuance of the ‘2018-20 Executive Plan’. The representative also joined in a news release welcoming India and Pakistan into the SCO and encouraging more direct contacts and practical exchanges of cultural organizations within SCO member states, as well as the joint creation of cultural products and works.
SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION (SCO)
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an eight-member multilateral organization, established on 15th June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Objective: The prime objectives are:
- To strengthen relations among eight member states.
- To promote cooperation in various fields like political affairs, economics, and education culture, tourism, environment protection etc.
- To promote regional peace, security and stability among others.
- New members: Along with India&Pakistan have also become the full member of the SCO, taking its membership from six to eight.
- Contribution: After the recent expansion of the membership, SCO represents approximately 42% of the world’s population, 20% of its GDP and 22% of the landmass.
INDIA & SCO
- India became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on 9thJune 2017 during the SCO Heads of State Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
- India has a long history of cultural exchanges with China and other SCO member states.Joining the SCO has provided India with a new platform, greater space and opportunities for exchange and cooperation.
- India has been participating in Cultural initiatives undertaken by SCO like nominating World Heritage site for the SCO-UNESCO exhibition proposed to be held in Paris in September 2018 and signing of MoU between SCO and UNESCO.
IMPORTANCE FOR INDIA
- For achieving national interests: Central Asia has huge economic, security and energy importance for India and thus, induction into the SCO as a full member would greatly help in achieving India’s vital national interests.
- National security: India can benefit through its induction on security-related issues.
- Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure(RATS): Since the SCO has established RATS, with the aim of containing terrorism, India can also benefit from this agency in getting intelligence information on terrorist activities.
- Access to natural resources: The region has abundant resolvers of natural resources and minerals including huge hydrocarbon fields, estimated 4 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves and oil reserves.
- Others: The SCO will help India in effectively dealing with issues like piracy, cyber security, drug-trafficking control and others.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization is one of the main pillars of peace and security from the regional and global perspective andIndiaattachesa special importance to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in promoting multilateral, cultural, political, security, economic and people-to-people interaction in the region. India is equally important for SCO as India’s inclusion will strengthen the organization for various reasons. At a time, when the globe is facing an economic slowdown, India’s fastest growing economy can play a significant role in improving the economic conditions of the member countries of the organization.