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Rajya Sabha TV In Depth SCO Summit

Rajya Sabha TV In Depth SCO Summit

PM Modi is attending 18th SCO summit in Quingdao, China on 9th June 2018. This is the first SCO summit that India is attending as a full time member. The 2 days summit is expected to see India raise concerns on terror networks and favour effective connectivity links to boost trade.


  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and security organisation. SCO grew out of Shanghai Five founded in 1996 with China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as its original members.
  • After the disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991, China has a large number of undecided and disputed borders with many of the countries that became independent then. This saw the formation of Shanghai Five by these nations.
  • Uzbekistan joined the Shanghai Five group in June 2011 and the group was henceforth named, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Its charter was signed in June 2002.
  • India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members in June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
  • SCO is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population and has become very powerful and influential.
  • Members of SCO in 2018:

8 member states: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

4 observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia

6 dialogue partners: Armenia, Azerbaizan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey

 Map showing member nations of SCO

  • SCO was initially formed to secure relations about security. Countries were supposed to work together against terrorism, extremism and separatism. Over the years it has become a comprehensive regional organisation. Its goals have become more widened.
  • Main goals of SCO are:
  1. Promoting mutual trust and neighbourliness.
  2. Promoting cooperation in politics, trade, economy, research, technology and culture.
  3. Enhancing ties in areas like education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection and healthcare.
  4. Maintaining and ensuring peace, security and stability in the region.
  5. Moving towards establishment of democratic, fair and rational international political and economic order.
  • Heads of State Council is supreme decision-making body. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters. Heads of Government Council is the second highest body. Meetings are also held at levels of heads of parliament, ministers of foreign affairs, economy, transport, etc.
  • 2 permanent bodies of SCO: SCO secretariat, Beijing and Executive Committee of the Anti-Terrorist Structure, Tashkent.
  • PM Modi will be attending the meeting with Heads of States in both restricted and extended formats. He will also attend bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping. The meeting comes after an informal summit was help between both in Wuhan in April, 2018 where wide range of discussions took place.
  • The SCO summit comes weeks after PM Modi addressed the Shangri La dialogue where he emphasised that Asia and world will have better future when India and China will work together with trust and confidence.
  • China which is the host nation is making its mark on Artificial Intelligence. It is the intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals. For example, a digital locker that can be operated by facial recognition has been provided for journalists.
  • India’s focus areas in the summit are:
  1. Fight against terrorism
  2. Increasing connectivity in the Central Asian region like increasing access to Afghanistan through Pakistan.
  3. Economic cooperation
  4. People to people exchanges
  5. Cultural harmony and cultural exchange.
  • Focus of SCO Summit, 2018 is regional peace and security of Central Asian countries. Other focus areas are Belt and Road initiative and Korean peninsula issues.
  • The SCO summit comes in the backdrop of trade war between US and China, fresh sanctions against Russia and cancellation of nuclear deal between US and Iran.
  • The relations between India and China have been marked with border disputes and even a war. But, India was also the first non-communist country to recognise People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. India and China had won independence at almost the same time.
  • Timeline of India China relations after India’s independence:

15 Aug 1947: India became independent.

1 Oct 1949: People’s Liberation Army defeated the Nationalist Party in China.

30 Oct 1949: India recognised PRC

1950: First Indian Ambassador was sent to China

1954: China and India signed the Panchsheel document taking the relations to a new level.

But, China’s stand on Tibet came as a disappointment to Nehru and his vision of peaceful coexistence.

3 April 1959: India granted asylum to Dalai lama after China’s annexation of Tibet.

This led to relations taking a bad turn. In 1950s, India China border disputes and conflicts started with China beginning to occupy Indian territories on India-China borders.

20 Oct 1962: China launched a massive attack on India which resulted in India’s defeat.

The relations further deteriorated in 1960s and 1970s till India and China agreed to re-establish their diplomatic ties in 1976.

1988: PM Rajiv Gandhi visited China and several agreements were signed.

2004: India and China proposed to open up Nathula and Jelapa passes in Sikkim.

2004: Bilateral trade between both surpassed $10 billion mark for the first time.

Trade between both the nations have boosted in the coming years but, border disputed have also taken place.


The SCO which had stated with a group of Five members has expanded and included India and Pakistan in 2017. Its goals and objectives have also widened from security to economy and other areas. For India, it is a very good opportunity to boost its ties with Central Asian countries and improve its relations with China as far as possible.