India recently hosted the first conference of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in New Delhi in September 2019.

About SCO:

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or the Shanghai Pact, is an economical -political military organisation founded in 2001 in Shanghai.
  • China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were the original 5 founding members of the organisation who found the Shanghai Five Group. The group was then renamed to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation with Uzbekistan joining the organisation in 2001.
  • There are eight member states in the SCO at present, namely, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India (both joined in 2017).
  • There are about four observer states and six dialogue partners in the SCO at present:
    • Observer States: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and
    • Dialogue Partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
  • Objectives of the SCO:
    • To strengthen mutual trust among the neighbouring member states.
    • To promote effective cooperation in various fields like economy, trade, politics, culture and research and technology.
    • To ensure peace, prosperity, security and stability in the region, and
    • To establish a democratic, fair and rational international eco-political order.
  • Organisational Structure of the SCO:
    • The supreme decision-making body in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is the Heads of State Council.
    • The second highest body of the SCO is the Heads of Government Council.
    • Whereas the SCO secretariat, Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Anti-Terrorist Structure, Tashkent are the permanent bodies of the SCO.
    • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) – Established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.

The 2019 Shanghai Cooperation Summit, held in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on June 13-14, marked the second year in which India participated as a full member.

Main Highlights of Bishkek Declaration 

  • The declaration called for ‘consistent implementation’ of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and asked all participants ‘for comprehensive and effective implementation of the document,’ a year after the US pulled out of it.
  • The ‘Roadmap for Further Action of the SCO Afghanistan Contact Group’ was signed by the leaders and the declaration argued for an ‘inclusive peace process conducted and led by Afghans themselves’ with UN playing the main role even as multilateral forums continue to interact on the issue.
  • Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit here, PM Modi gave a template, ‘HEALTH’, for strengthening cooperation. ‘H’ for healthcare cooperation, ‘E’ for economic cooperation, ‘A’ for alternate energy, ‘L’ for literature and culture, ‘T’ for terrorism-free society and ‘H’ for humanitarian cooperation.