India to again pitch for English as SCO working language

Currently, SCO documents are prepared in only two languages: Mandarin and Russian

| Updated: 04 May, 2023 4:14 pm IST

NEW DELHI: India will once again push for the inclusion of English as the working language at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which currently uses Mandarin and Russian.

The group’s documents are also prepared in these two languages.

The move is not new. New Delhi has been advocating for the inclusion of English since its induction into the principal Eurasian plurilateral forum in 2017. In the past, India’s proposal received tacit support from other member countries, according to sources in the ministry of external affairs (MEA).

Currently, India is hosting a two-day SCO foreign ministers’ meeting in Goa, with a focus on regional, defence, and political issues. New Delhi has been in the chair of the grouping since last year and is hosting key ministerial meetings in the run-up to the SCO summit scheduled to be held in July.

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The SCO has eight member states, including India and Pakistan, China, and Russia, as well as the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

EAM Dr S Jaishankar in conversation with SCO secretary general Zhang Ming in Goa.

The theme of India’s chairmanship of SCO in 2023 is ‘Secure-SCO,’ and the country is hosting a range of events, including the SCO Film Festival, the SCO Millets Festival Tourism Mart, and a conference on traditional medicine.

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India has hosted over 100 meetings and events so far, including ministerial meetings, with some meetings being the first-time events in the SCO framework.

Established in 2001, SCO is an intergovernmental organization promoting multilateral political, security, economic, and people-to-people interactions in the region.

In addition to the eight member states, the SCO has four observer countries – Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia – and six dialogue partner countries – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.

Four more dialogue partner countries – Kuwait, UAE, Myanmar, and the Maldives – have pitched to join and will be inducted into the SCO once the process is complete.

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