On June 9, 2017, the Presidents of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member-states — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — signed a document granting membership to Pakistan and India. The document was signed at Astana, Kazakhstan during the SCO Summit.
- 2017 SCO summit is based on the theme “Future Energy”
- On June 24, 2016 in Tashkent, India and Pakistan had signed the memorandum of obligations to start the formal process of joining the SCO as full members.
- This is the first expansion of SCO since its inception in 2001.
- India’s membership was strongly pushed by Russia whereas China backed Pakistan’s membership.
- The membership of SCO is expected to benefit India, as most of the SCO countries have rich reserves of natural gas, which India can tap upon for meeting its energy needs.
- With inclusion of India and Pakistan, SCO now represents over 40% of world population and nearly 20% of the global GDP.
PM Modi visit to Astana to participate in SCO summit
On June 8, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
- On June 9, 2017, PM Modi attended the SCO Summit and also attended this year’s World Exposition which is hosted by Kazakhstan.
- At the SCO Summit, he expressed gratitude to the SCO for accepting India’s membership.
- PM Modi mentioned that energy, education, transport, agriculture, security, development and trade would be the top drivers in India’s ties with the SCO.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
SCO is a political, economic, and military organisation comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Earlier, it was known as Shanghai Five (formed in 1996 in Shanghai). Uzbekistan was not a member of Shanghai Five.
- In June 2001, with inclusion of Uzbekistan, the grouping was renamed as SCO.
- India has been an observer to SCO since 2005.
- SCO is regarded as a counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).