Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
GS PAPER II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora - their structure, mandate.
Context: Cabinet gives ex-post facto nod for signing, ratifying SCO agreement on mass media cooperation.
- It is aimed at providing an opportunity to the member states to share the best practices and new innovations in the field of mass media.
- The main areas of cooperation in the agreement are creation of favorable conditions for wide and mutual distribution of information through mass media in order to further deepen the knowledge about the lives of the peoples of their states.
- The agreement shall promote equal and mutually beneficial cooperation among professional associations of journalists of the states in order to study the available professional experience, as well as to hold meetings, seminars and conferences.
- It will assist in broadcasting of television and radio programmes and those, distributed legally within the territory of the state of the other side, the legal broadcasting by editorial offices of materials and information, if their distribution meets the requirements of the legislation of the states of the sides.
- The agreement will encourage the exchange of experience and specialists in the field of mass media, provide mutual assistance in training media professionals and encourage cooperation among the educational and scientific research institutions and organizations operating in this field.
What is SCO?
- It is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance.
- The original five nations, with the exclusion of Uzbekistan, were previously members of the Shanghai Five group.
- Since then, the organisation has expanded its membership to eight countries when India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
- The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO.
- It is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.
- The SCO is widely regarded as the "alliance of the East", due to its growing centrality in Asia-Pacific, and has been the primary security pillar of the region.
- The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the SCO, which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
Criticisms of the SCO
- It is used by member states to shield each other from international criticism regarding human rights violations.
- Even after 19 years, the SCO is struggling to emerge as a cohesive organisation because it lacks coherence on account of China’s pre-pondering influence.
- It is the only regional grouping in the vast Eurasian space.
- The specific advantage for India lies in the SCO providing a robust platform for connecting with countries of Central Asia, which comprise our extended neighbourhood and with whom India shares millennia of vibrant, multifaceted linkages.
- Central Asia and Afghanistan are vital for India’s security, meeting its energy requirements, connectivity, trade and economic progress and growth.
- India through its active participation has strengthened greater trade, economic and cultural cooperation within SCO by putting human beings at the center of SCO activities.
- It has fostered greater peace and prosperity in the region.
- India’s initiatives have emphasised its commitment to expanding its partnership with SCO by playing a proactive, positive and constructive role in the organisation.