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SCO Defence Ministers Meet (8 September 2020)

SCO Defence Ministers Meet (8 September 2020)

Why in News:

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh last week reaffirmed India's commitment to inclusive and transparent global security at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet in Moscow.

Context:

Addressing the combined meeting of defence ministers of the SCO, Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states in Moscow, the defence minister said, "India is committed to the evolution of a global security architecture which will be open, transparent, inclusive, rules-based and anchored in international laws." Rajnath Singh stressed on the need for 'a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms' for peace and security in the SCO region.

Background:

It is the first high-level political face-to-face meeting between India and China since the border row erupted along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Earlier on June 24, Singh had represented India at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow on June 24 that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

Summary of the Debate

SCO:

  • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
  • The SCO which India joined in 2017 is a very important platform for India. The SCO was established in 2001 and it is going to mark two decades of its existence and the precursor of SCO was the Shanghai Five which was formed in 1996.
  • Basically, after the disintegration of Soviet Union, to settle borders between China and all these newly emerged countries that had come up. So, it was the Russian federation, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Once the border was settled in 1996, the Shanghai Five was formed and then in 2001, it was decided also to include Uzbekistan and that is how the SCO was established with headquarter in Beijing.
  • India became an observer to this organization in 2005 and got membership of that in 2017.
  • It’s a very significant organization because it is straddles across much of Eurasia, it has membership of Russia, China, four of the central Asian countries and India and Pakistan. So, in terms of area it is huge, in terms of population it represents more than 40 percent of the world population, in terms of GDP, it represents more than 23-24 percent.
  • These defence minister meetings take place annually.

India’s concern:

  • There are three aspects which concern India; the one is economic cooperationwith the central Asian countries; the second is getting transit route there; and the third is terrorism.
  • The terrorism is not something which is going to be addressed in this particular forum because there are too many contradictions within the system.