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Member States:
Observer States:
01:35Abu Dhabi
04:35Phnom Penh
Speech by SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov at the event "New Arc of Cooperation in Rising Rimland: from Vladivostok to Chennai"
22.01.2020 17:08

1. There are quite a few international organizations inEurasia now. SCO is not the oldest, butvery representative, you are head ofthe largest regional organization interms ofpopulation.

How do you see the role ofSCO inthe development ofbroad processes ofinternational cooperation inthe vast Eurasian space, including its continental and maritime dimensions?


Dear Mr. Bordachev,

I am delighted toparticipate inthe session ofthe Valdai Club, which has established itself asan important international forum whose opinions are carefully heard bymany policy-makers inthe world.

It is significant that our session is being held onIndian soil aspart ofthe international conference "Raisina Dialogue", an important platform forexchange ofviews amongleading policy-makers.

The SCO is home toalmost half ofthe world's population and covers 60% territory ofEurasia, and therefore it is the key Eurasian platform forinternational cooperation.

The SCO, given its geographical expanse fromthe Baltics tothe Pacific, plays an active and inspiring role inworld affairs.

These indicators clearly demonstrate the enormous potential ofthe SCO, the implementation ofwhich has become the main issue onits agenda.

We believe it is proper forus totalk aboutthe transcontinental nature ofour Organization and its significant contribution toregional and international security.

Today, the Organization is made upof eight countries India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan;

four Observer States Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia;

and the "six" Dialogue Partners Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

In addition, aboutten countries have applied forobserver/dialogue partner status Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Maldives, Ukraine, Iraq, Viet Nam, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE.

In other words, almost thirty Eurasian countries are already inSCO orbit.

It is essential that the SCO, given its geographical expanse fromthe Baltics tothe Pacific, play an active and inspiring role inworld affairs.

We understand that the growth ofthe SCO "family" increases its legitimacy, butthe expansion ofthe Organization should not be thoughtless, butaimed atstrengthening it, increasing its internal capacities and international prestige.

At the same time, we are open tobroad international cooperation inthe vast Eurasian space, including withEuropean Union.

Our activities and plans have continental and maritime dimensions inpolitical, economic and humanitarian aspects.

The comprehensive concept of "Shanghai spirit" has already become a stable political term that has enriched the theory and practice ofcontemporary interstate interaction.

The consensus model ofdecision-making withinSCO onthe basis ofequal dialogue, mutual respect and consideration ofinterests ofall Member States gives our Organization an appeal and greater vitality.

The main principles onwhich the Organization is based are openness, non-direction againstother states and international organizations and the non-bloc nature.

The Organization's potential forresilience lies inthe fact that there is no domination, element ofpressure or coercion.

The distinctive feature ofour Organization is the universal and multifaceted nature ofcooperation, which covers the areas ofpolitics, security, economy and humanitarian ties.

Given the continuing threats ofterrorism, drug trafficking and cross-border organized crime, the first stage ofSCO's development was objectively aimed atensuring security and stability.

On the whole, SCO has many achievements inthe security sphere.

The Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure inTashkent is working withgood results.

Joint anti-terrorist exercises "Peace Mission" are regularly conducted.

Given the SCO's leading role inthis area, we have established close partnerships withthe relevant United Nations bodies the UN Office onDrugs and Crime and UN Office ofCounter Terrorism, aswell aswith partners fromthe CIS and CSTO.

In order tocounter the link betweenterrorism and illicit drug trafficking overthe pastfive years, joint efforts ofthe Organization's member states have resulted inthe seizure ofsome 40 per cent ofnarcotics throughoutEurasia.

We are working towardsa political settlement ofthe situation inAfghanistan, including byhelping witheconomic recovery ofthat country.

The work ofthe SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, which meets regularly atthe level ofdeputy foreign ministers, is oriented towardsachieving these goals.

Concrete steps are defined inthe relevant Road Map.

Memberstates ofthe SCO consider the territory ofAfghanistan not only asa source ofthreats, butalso asa space ofopportunities.

The SCO's activities are aimed atbuilding a democratic and fair architecture ofinternational relations, based onthe principles and standards ofinternational law, primarily mutual respect, justice, equality, mutually beneficial cooperation, and a common vision ofcreating a community witha shared future forhumankind.

We support the efforts ofthe UN asa universal multilateral organization and the UN Security Council inmaintaining international peace and security underthe UN Charter, stimulating global development, aswell ascreating conditions forthe prosperity ofour countries and nations.

As António Guterres UN Secretary-General said inone ofhis recent statement "The SCO plays a leading role inregional diplomacy. It contributes tothe development ofmultilateral cooperation tosort outthe most urgent issues ofpeace and security inEurasia."

The SCO advocates improving architecture ofglobal economic governance and developing trade, economic and investment cooperation.
We believe it is important tofurther deepen cooperation forjointly and consistently strengthening an open, inclusive, transparent, non-discriminatory multilateral trade system based onthe rules ofthe World Trade Organization, aswell aspreventing any unilateral protectionist measures ininternational trade.

2. Mr. Norov, it seems that India is seeking toexpand interaction betweenthe continental and maritime arc ofinternational relations inGreater Eurasia.
The axis ofcooperation betweenChennai and Vladivostok is seen asuniting the efforts ofRussia and India inshaping such relations.

India recently became an SCO member state.

How would you rate the SCO's experience assuch a representative association?

With India's accession tothe SCO asa full member, there are created absolutely new opportunities forfurther development and deepening offull-scale cooperation betweenmember states.

India's entry intothe SCO gave the Organization a new quality and dynamics and increased its capacity toconfront contemporary challenges and threats.

The role ofthe SCO asan important mechanism forshaping regional and global policy, ensuring security and sustainable development has been strengthened.

We appreciate the efforts ofthe Indian side tofurther deepen mutually beneficial cooperation withinthe SCO.

At recent SCO summits inQingdao and Bishkek, inwhich India participated asa full member, Prime Minister Modi made a number ofimportant proposals aimed atfurther deepening cooperation inthe fields ofregional security, strengthening economic cooperation inthe sphere ofagriculture, medicine, IT, space, finance, development ofalternative energy sources and environmental protection.

I would liketo note India's active participation inSCO security mechanisms, including inthe SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.

We attach great importance tothe active participation ofthe Indian side inantiterrorist exercises.

This year India first time is presiding overthe SCO's second most important body the Council ofHeads ofGovernment, whose next meeting will be held inIndia inautumn.

This body is the main mechanism responsible forthe development oftrade, economic and humanitarian cooperation betweenthe SCO member states.

The meeting ofprime ministers will be preceded bymeetings ofministers ofcommerce, justice, council ofnational coordinators, financial experts, aswell asthe first meeting ofthe Consortium ofThink Tanks oneconomic issues which will also be held inthe Republic ofIndia.

The Member States highly appreciated the activities carried outby the Indian side inthe field ofdisaster management, including the ministerial meeting, rescue operations and special exercises held inIndia in2019.

New prospects fortrade and economic cooperation open upwith the formation of "International North South" Transport Corridor, byinitiative India and Russia, witha length ofmore than7 thousand kilometres, aswell aswith India's accession tothe Ashgabat agreement onthe formation ofa new international transport and transit route.

These projects throughthe infrastructure ofrailways and roads, seaports fortransit and transportation ofgoods will create conditions forsustainable economic development ofthe participating countries.

This giant transport corridor will connect St. Petersburg withthe Indian port ofMumbai.

In the context ofincreasing the transit potential ofthe SCO countries withinthe framework ofChina's Belt and Road initiative, the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project may become one ofthe promising additional routes connecting East Asia withthe Middle East, Turkey and Europe, aswell asan important link inthe transport network withinthe framework ofthe East-West and North-South projects.

The transport and infrastructure projects currently being implemented withinthe framework ofthe SCO are largely aimed atsolving the fundamental task ofproviding favorable opportunities forland-locked countries ofCentral Asia tohave access tothe seaports, including Indian ones and their products tothe world market.

In this way, we create new blood arteries that will give vitality tothe Eurasian region.

With great interest we follow the approaches ofIndia and ASEAN States tothe Indo-Pacific, pay attention totheir creative, inclusive and non-confrontational nature, multidisciplinary cooperation, connectivity and sustainable development, respect forinternational law, and openness toall who want towork onthe basis ofthese principles.

It seems tous that the axis ofcooperation betweenChennai and Vladivostok fits perfectly intothe development plans ofthe Russian Far East.

In future India will also be able toeffectively take advantage ofthe Northern Sea Route and facilitate access forits companies toresources ofthe Russian Arctic region.

Such goal-setting is inline withthe key principles ofthe proposed concept ofthe Greater Eurasian Partnership, inwhich important platforms forcooperation such asthe SCO and ASEAN can take their rightful place and, thanks toestablished partnerships, interact productively inthe fields ofpolitics, security and economy.

It is only throughour joint efforts we will be able tounite the vast Eurasian continent's vast maritime and land space,as well asthe surrounding continents and regions aroundEurasia.

We see a far-reaching meaning indeepening interaction betweenthe think tanks ofthe SCO "family" states, the European Union and ASEAN.

In the current volatile global situation, experts and scientists must fully perform their predictive duty.

3. Mr. Secretary General, what do you see asSCO's specific priorities withsuch diversity ofparticipants?

Today the Organization has become a real example ofcoexistence ofdiverse states withdifferent cultural and ethnic traditions, aswell asthe productive establishment and development ofinter-civilization dialogue.

Symbolically speaking, our political, economic and humanitarian practice is the contours ofgeostrategic development inEurasia.

In fact, this is a long-term construction ofthe Eurasian space, starting fromits core, which is represented byCentral Asia, and centrifugally toits outer perimeter.

The main thing inSCO's approach is toensure security and political stability throughoutthe Eurasian space, based onwhich economic and social dynamics should be accelerated.

Today, inthe world, pockets ofarmed conflict remain asglobal terrorist breeding grounds.

Terrorist organizations are trying totake control ofdrug trafficking, using it not only asa source ofincome, butalso totraffic foreign terrorist fighters.

The global nature oftoday's challenges and threats takes a special dimension due torapid development ofthe information and communication technologies.

In the Internet space and throughthe so-called "darknet", extremist materials are being disseminated, young people are being recruited intothe ranks ofterrorists, and illegal online trafficking inweapons and drugs.

The Member States emphasise the need tocontinue work onbuilding withinthe SCO ofa system formonitoring possible threats inthe global information space and countering them.

The SCO region is home tomore than800 million young people aged 15 to24 who are most exposed torisks and threats inthe information space.

Therefore, it is important forthe SCO towork towardsthe formation ofa "healthy digital culture" inthe SCO region, directing high potential ofyoung people tothe right direction, developing intellectual skills, abilities, aswell asyouth entrepreneurship inthe field ofdigital and electronic innovations.

E-commerce is growing inthe member states ofthe SCO atan active pace. China,India and Russia are leading the SCO inthis area.

Currently, 35% ofChina's trade is carried outthrough e-Commerce. 55% ofthose employed ine-Commerce are women. In other words, e-Commerce helps create new jobs, especially forwomen and young people.

In recent years, Alibaba Group has created more than40 million jobs and the company plans tocreate 100 million new jobs by2036.

At same time according tothe World Economic Forum, companies aroundthe world lost about $1.5 trillion in2018 fromillegal activities ofcybercriminals, and in2019 that figure almost reached $2.5 trillion.

That is why our Organization focuses its attention oncooperation inensuring information security and fighting cybercrime.

To counter that threat, it is important toexpand the regulatory framework aimed atcombating cybercrime and guaranteeing confidentiality and rights ofconsumers onthe Internet.

Given India's great potential inIT technology, we believe that the Indian side can play a leading role inthis area inthe SCO region.

Today, the SCO has become an effective mechanism formultilateral cooperation intrade and economic sphere.

Its territory is characterized bya huge consumer market, highly qualified human resources, rich mineral and energy reserves, aswell asadvanced production facilities and technologies.

The total GDP ofthe SCO member states in2018 amounted to22 per cent ofthe world GDP.

It is expected that in2030 this indicator may reach 35-40 per cent ofthe world GDP.

According tothe Standard Chartered Bank, by2030 the volume ofthe top 10 world economies will amount to190 trillion U.S. dollars, 60% ofwhich will come fromChina, India and Russia.

The total foreign trade turnover ofthe SCO member states withforeign countries exceeded $6.3 trillion and it is growing. For example, only China plans toincrease imports ofgoods overthe next 15 years from2 to30 trillion USD.

Thus, the SCO has real opportunities tobecome one ofthe world economic centers inthe nearfuture.

At the last meeting ofthe SCO Council ofHeads ofGovernment inTashkent inNovember 2019, a new Program ofMultilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation ofthe Organization's Countries until2035 was adopted.

Under the new Programme, inthe long term until2035 the SCO Member States aim toincrease global competitiveness and ensure the digital transformation ofthe national economies ofthe SCO countries throughthe introduction ofdigital technologies and the creation offavourable conditions forthe gradual free movement ofgoods, capital, services and technologies, asenvisaged inthe SCO Charter.

The practical implementation ofthis strategy, rather thanvirtual design, is carried outboth throughstrengthening multilateral relations amongmember states and throughthe formation ofpartnerships withinternational and regional organizations the UN, EAEC, ASEAN, CIS, aswell asthrough interaction withsuch an international association asBRICS.


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