The 19th SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) meeting hosted by India and Chaired by Hon’ble Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu on 30 November 2020 was very significant as it was the first CHG meeting Chaired by India since its elevation as a full Member. During the period of its presidency (November 2019 – November 2020), India undertook lot of initiatives commensurating its stature for strengthening cooperation in a wide array of sectors among SCO Members and to create new opportunities for participation in economic activities in the region. The proposals were also aimed at fulfilling the commitments made by PM Shri Narendra Modi at previous SCO Summits.
Given India’s strong cultural, historical and civilization ties with the SCO region, which formed the basis for modern dynamic relations, India proposed several initiatives in the fields of economic & trade, startups, healthcare, S&T, and culture. The SCO Member States appreciated and extended support to India’s constructive role in enriching the agenda of SCO.
Some of the key initiatives of India in SCO are:
Launch of first-ever SCO Startup Forum: This Forum will lay the foundation for multilateral cooperation and engagement for the SCO Member States to develop and hone their startup ecosystems. The SCO Startup Forum was launched by CIM Shri Piyush Goyal on 28 October 2020.
Setting up of a new SCO Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation: India’s proposal is aimed at addressing whole gamut of issues related to startups and innovation in SCO Member States. This Working Group will focus on the applied aspect of using IT and Startup ecosystems for entrepreneurial development.
Setting up of a new SCO Sub-Group on Cooperation in Traditional Medicine: In the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic which had put global health on emergency, India had proposed cooperation in traditional medicine. The ancient, holistic, effective and low-cost health systems like traditional medicine are of increased relevance and is practised in SCO member countries.
First-ever SCO Young Scientists Conclave: Recognizing the huge talent of SCO youth, India had proposed this Conclave to create connectivity and networking among SCO youth to harness their knowledge for addressing common societal challenges; prepare next generation scientific leadership in S&T; provide access to large scale research infrastructure and unique analytical facilities. India hosted this Conclave on 24-28 November 2020.
SCO Consortium of Economic Think Tanks:India hosted the 1st meeting of Economic Think Tanks on 20-21 August 2020 with the twin objectives of tapping the potential of trade and economic cooperation among SCO Member States; and to address associated challenges.
Other important meetings and events include:
1. SCO Justice Ministers Meeting
2. SCO Trade and Economic Ministers Meeting
3. Formal accession of National Service Scheme (NSS) to SCO Youth Council
4. SCO Business Conclave by FICCI with special focus on cooperation with MSMEs
5. Action Plan for implementation of SCO Multilateral Economic Cooperation Strategy for 2020-35
6. Joint Communique of the SCO Council of Heads of Government
7. Digital Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage of SCO Member States at the National Museum, New Delhi
8. Translation of 10 Indian Literary Classics in regional languages into SCO languages of Russian and Chinese.
9. Yoga at SCO Secretariat
10. Launch of ‘cinemaSCOpe’ - A movie series for SCO Family