Varanasi is SCO’s first “tourism and cultural capital”

Varanasi is SCO’s first “tourism and cultural capital”


Varanasi is SCO’s first “tourism and cultural capital” – Today Current Affairs

  • Varanasi has been selected as the first “Tourism and Cultural Capital of the SCO region 2022-23” ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit to be held in September 2022.
  • The SCO summit will be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan where two new members- Iran and Belarus are likely to join the SCO. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports as a result of the adoption of the Agreement on September 17, 2021 by the SCO member countries on cooperation in the field of youth work.
  • India will host the SCO summit in the year 2023.

Today Current Affairs


  • In a new recurring initiative to promote people-to-people contact and tourism among member states, it has been decided to make Varanasi the “Cultural and Tourism Capital”.
  • Every year a city of cultural heritage of a member country, which will hold the recurring presidency of the organization, will be awarded a title to highlight its prominence.
  • The new initiative will come into force after the Samarkand summit, after which India will assume the presidency and host the next Heads of State Summit.

SCO Expansion : The Hindu Analysis

  • It has been observed that the international influence of SCO is increasing and the principles of the SCO Charter are being widely accepted.
  • China and Russia want to prepare the grouping as a counter to the West, especially as an extension of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
  • Although it is believed that there is a lot of contradiction between SCO and NATO.
  • The expansion of NATO is completely different as the SCO is a cooperative organization based on non-alignment and does not target any third party.
  • NATO is based on Cold War thinking.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) : The Hindu Analysis

  • SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
  • It is a Eurasian political, economic and military organization whose goal is to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
  • It was formed in the year 2001.
  • The SCO Charter was signed in the year 2002 and came into force in the year 2003.

Produce : The Hindu Analysis

  • Before the formation of the SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
  • The Shanghai Five (1996) originated as a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks, conducted by the four former Soviet republics to ensure stability along the borders with China.
  • The Shanghai five was renamed SCO after Uzbekistan joined the organization in 2001.
  • India and Pakistan became its members in the year 2017.

Purpose : The Hindu Analysis

  • To strengthen mutual trust and goodwill among the member countries.
  • To promote effective cooperation in the fields of politics, trade and economy, research and technology and culture.
  • To enhance relations in the fields of education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection etc.
  • To maintain peace, security and stability in the area concerned.
  • To establish a democratic, fair and rational neo-international political and economic order.

Membership : The Hindu Analysis

  • Currently its member countries include Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Iran.

Structure : The Hindu Analysis

  • Council of Heads of State: It is the apex body of the SCO which discusses international issues through its internal activities with other nations and international organizations.
  • Council of Heads of Governance: negotiates and decides on issues related to economic areas under SCO and approves the budget of the organization.
  • Council of Foreign Ministers: It deals with issues related to day to day activities.
  • Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS): deals with dealing with terrorism, separatism, separatism, extremism and extremism.
  • Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization: It is located in Beijing to provide informational, analytical and organizational support.
  • Official languages: Russian and Chinese are the official languages ​​of the SCO.

Relevance of the Group to India : The Hindu Analysis

  • Over time SCO hosts have encouraged members to use the forum to discuss differences.
  • These were the occasions when the current Indian Prime Minister held a bilateral meeting with former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2015 and the External Affairs Minister negotiated a five-point agreement with his Chinese counterpart during the Moscow summit in 2020.
  • India is also a part of the ‘Quadrilateral’ group along with the US, Japan and Australia.
  • Its association with groups of a different nature is part of its foreign policy which emphasizes the principles of “strategic autonomy and multi-alignment”.


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