UFA 2015: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - September - 2015

UFA 2015

Two important international conferences were organised in Ufa (Russia) in july. One is Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is an intergovernmental international organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Analyst believe that SCO can transform the idea of Eurasia into reality. Its member states cover an area of over 30 million sq. km, or about three fifths of Eurasia, with a population of 1.455 billion, about a quarter of the world’s total. Its working languages are Chinese and Russian. First meeting of Shanghai Five countries, which include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, happened in 1996 in shanghai and the next in moscow. Thereafter, this annual meeting became a regular practice and had been held alternately in the five states. On the fifth anniversary of the Shanghai Five in June 2001, the heads of state of its members and the President of Uzbekistan met in Shanghai, the birthplace of the mechanism. First they signed a joint declaration admitting Uzbekistan as member of the Shanghai Five mechanism and then jointly issued the Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to the SCO Charter and the Declaration on the Establishment of the SCO, the main purposes of SCO are: strengthening mutual trust and good-neighborliness and friendship among member states; developing their effective cooperation in political affairs, the economy and trade, energy, working together to maintain regional peace.

The SCO has not accepted any new members since its initial formation in 2001. Nonetheless, the organization has managed to expand rapidly by granting states “observer” and “dialogue partner” status to countries. Before this summit there were five observer states, namely, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Iran, India, and Pakistan. India and Pakistan has been given full membership in Ufa summit. The process for formal inclusion into SCO will take place in 2016. Various benefits will come to India from this summit:

  • This will open up economic opportunities as well as highly important energy sector from central Asia to India;
  • SCO will provide a platform to fight the terrorism and curb the menace of ISIS;
  • SCO will also provide the opportunity to engage in solving the problem of security in Afghanistan;
  • SCO will be helpful in finalising the long held projects like TAPI pipeline;

India and Pakistan also engaged on the sidelines of Ufa summit. The Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India agreed on the following steps:

  • A meeting in New Delhi between the two NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism;
  • Early meetings of DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers followed by that of DGMOs;
  • Decision for release of fishermen in each other’s custody, along with their boats, within a period of 15 days;
  • Mechanism for facilitating religious tourism;
  • Both sides agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.

Another summit which happened at the Ufa was BRICS. The BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] idea was first conceived in 2001 by Goldman Sachs as part of an economic modeling exercise to forecast global economic trends over the next half century. BRIC Foreign Ministers at their meeting in 2010 agreed that South Africa may be invited to join BRIC. Accordingly, South Africa was invited to attend the 3rd BRICS Summit in Sanya in 2011. Five Summits have been held so far; the first in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in 2009; second in Brasilia in 2010, the third in Sanya, China in 2011, the fourth in New Delhi, India in 2012, and the fifth in Durban, South Africa in 2013.

While the concept “BRICS” was first created to refer to the investment opportunities of the rising emerging economies, the leaders’ meetings transcend the financial context to embrace a wide range of summit-level issues relating to global governance, such as development, peace and security, energy and climate change, and social issues. The BRICS mechanism also aims at contributing significantly to the development of humanity and establishing a more equitable and fair world. In 2011, the BRICS’ share of GDP, based on PPP amounted to about 20 % and 25% (estimated at US$13,7 trillion). BRICS countries occupy 30% of the global territory. They are home to 45% of the world’s population.

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