Foreign Ministers of eight member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will meet in Goa on May 4 and 5 to set the stage for the upcoming SCO Leaders’ Summit in July.
India, as the host, has prioritized preparations for the meeting and has been holding internal meetings to ensure the event runs smoothly. Under India’s Chairmanship of SCO in 2023, the theme is ‘SECURE-SCO,’ and India aims to promote multilateral, political, security, economic, and people-to-people interactions in the region.
India has been working to strengthen its relations with SCO member countries since becoming a full member in 2017. India has been urging the bloc to include ‘English’ as an official language of communication, with a proposal first made in 2020.
The SCO pursues its policy based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, non-interference in internal affairs, equality of all Member States, and mutual understanding and respect for the opinions of each of them.
During India’s presidency, the SCO will focus on modernizing the grouping with a focus on advanced technology and digital infrastructure. The agenda also includes discussions with regional counterparts on various regional, security, and political issues. India has been pushing for stronger collaboration on issues related to regional security, defence, and combating terrorism since joining the SCO.
The foreign ministers and their delegations will begin arriving in Goa on May 4. All the delegations will be staying at the Taj Exotica in Benaulim, where the meetings will be held. S Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister, will host a dinner for the visiting dignitaries.
The official engagements will begin on May 5 with the arrival of foreign ministers and heads of delegations at the meeting venue, followed by a group photo.
The meeting of the Council of foreign ministers (CFM) will begin in the morning, and the ‘decision document’ will be signed by noon, followed by a working lunch. The event will conclude with the signing of a Memorandum with New Dialogue Partners. The leaders will then hold various bilateral meetings with their respective counterparts from other nations.
Since its inception in 1996, the SCO has grown and expanded to become one of the largest regional organizations. SCO member countries account for about 30 per cent of the global GDP and 40 per cent of the world’s population.
In preparation for the meetings of the SCO Heads of State Council and the SCO Heads of Government Council, the SCO Council of National Coordinators met from April 29 to May 3 in Panaji, India, chaired by India. They also discussed other aspects of the organization’s activities and reviewed and agreed on the main draft documents to be submitted for signature at the Ministerial Council meeting.
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