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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit

GS Paper 2


Syllabus: Multilateral bodies


Context: The recent Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marked India’s first time hosting the event as a full member.


Outcomes of the Summit (New Delhi Declaration):

Outcomes Significance
Inclusion of Iran as the ninth member of the SCO Expansion of the SCO’s membership, bringing in additional regional dynamics.


Note: Other 8 members of SCO are– China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Agreement on countering radicalization Cooperation among member states to address activities of terrorist, separatist and extremist groups, preventing the spread of religious intolerance, aggressive nationalism, ethnic and racial discrimination, xenophobia etc
Joint statement on digital transformation Sharing of expertise and cooperation in digital technologies and payment systems
SCO Year of Environment Members agreed to declare 2024 as the SCO Year of Environment.
Criticism of non-UN sanctions Rejection of non-UN sanctions that negatively impact other countries
Exploration of national currencies for payments Potential reduction of dependence on international dollar-based payments
India’s Initiatives
Five new pillars of Cooperation within SCO Pillars include: Startups and Innovation, Traditional Medicine, Youth Empowerment, Digital Inclusion, and Shared Buddhist Heritage
Engagement with People Enhancing engagement among people through SCO Millet Food Festival, Film Festival, International Conference on Shared Buddhist Heritage etc.
Culture Varanasi was declared the first tourism and cultural capital of SCO
India’s abstention from endorsing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Reflects concerns over China’s influence and projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir



India’s decision to join the SCO was driven by its economic significance, regional security concerns, and the opportunity to engage with Central Asian markets and resources. However, the SCO summit initially planned as an in-person event but later turned into a virtual summit, may have been impacted by various factors, including the Prime Minister’s U.S. State visit and concerns over tensions with China and Pakistan. With India’s SCO chairpersonship ending, it is feared, there may be a sense of diminishing returns from its engagement with the SCO



Despite the constraints of SCO, the present outcomes highlight the significance of India’s chairing of the summit, the expansion of SCO membership, cooperation on key issues, and India’s stance on regional security concerns.


For details about SCO, How India gains from SCO, Challenges: Click here (India and SCO)


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Mains Links

SCO serves India’s quest for geopolitical balance and regional engagement, however, any benefits from it are cancelled out by the presence of China and Pakistan. Has India gained anything substantial from the SCO? Critically examine. (15M)