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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 ináEurasia now. SCO is not the oldest, butávery representative, you are head ofáthe largest regional organization ináterms ofápopulation.

How do you see the role ofáSCO ináthe development ofábroad processes ofáinternational cooperation ináthe vast Eurasian space, including its continental and maritime dimensions?


Dear Mr. Bordachev,

I am delighted toáparticipate ináthe session ofáthe Valdai Club, which has established itself asáan important international forum whose opinions are carefully heard byámany policy-makers ináthe world.

It is significant that our session is being held onáIndian soil asápart ofáthe international conference "Raisina Dialogue", an important platform foráexchange ofáviews amongáleading policy-makers.

The SCO is home toáalmost half ofáthe world's population and covers 60% territory ofáEurasia, and therefore it is the key Eurasian platform foráinternational cooperation.

The SCO, given its geographical expanse fromáthe Baltics toáthe Pacific, plays an active and inspiring role ináworld affairs.

These indicators clearly demonstrate the enormous potential ofáthe SCO, the implementation ofáwhich has become the main issue onáits agenda.

We believe it is proper foráus toátalk aboutáthe transcontinental nature ofáour Organization and its significant contribution toáregional and international security.

Today, the Organization is made upáof eight countriesጠIndia, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan;

four Observer StatesጠAfghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia;

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

In addition, aboutáten countries have applied foráobserver/dialogue partner statusጠBangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Maldives, Ukraine, Iraq, Viet Nam, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE.

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

It is essential that the SCO, given its geographical expanse fromáthe Baltics toáthe Pacific, play an active and inspiring role ináworld affairs.

We understand that the growth ofáthe SCO "family" increases its legitimacy, butáthe expansion ofáthe Organization should not be thoughtless, butáaimed atástrengthening it, increasing its internal capacities and international prestige.

At the same time, we are open toábroad international cooperation ináthe vast Eurasian space, including witháEuropean Union.

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

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

The consensus model ofádecision-making withináSCO onáthe basis ofáequal dialogue, mutual respect and consideration ofáinterests ofáall Member States gives our Organization an appeal and greater vitality.

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

The Organization's potential foráresilience lies ináthe fact that there is no domination, element ofápressure or coercion.

The distinctive feature ofáour Organization is the universal and multifaceted nature ofácooperation, which covers the areas ofápolitics, security, economy and humanitarian ties.

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

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

The Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure ináTashkent is working withágood results.

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

Given the SCO's leading role ináthis area, we have established close partnerships witháthe relevant United Nations bodiesጠthe UN Office onáDrugs and Crime and UN Office ofáCounter Terrorism, asáwell asáwith partners fromáthe CIS and CSTO.

In order toácounter the link betweenáterrorism and illicit drug trafficking overáthe pastáfive years, joint efforts ofáthe Organization's member states have resulted ináthe seizure ofásome 40 per cent ofánarcotics throughoutáEurasia.

We are working towardsáa political settlement ofáthe situation ináAfghanistan, including byáhelping witháeconomic recovery ofáthat country.

The work ofáthe SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, which meets regularly atáthe level ofádeputy foreign ministers, is oriented towardsáachieving these goals.

Concrete steps are defined ináthe relevant Road Map.

MemberáŚstates ofáthe SCO consider the territory ofáAfghanistan not only asáa source ofáthreats, butáalso asáa space ofáopportunities.

The SCO's activities are aimed atábuilding a democratic and fair architecture ofáinternational relations, based onáthe principles and standards ofáinternational law, primarily mutual respect, justice, equality, mutually beneficial cooperation, and a common vision ofácreating a community witháa shared future foráhumankind.

We support the efforts ofáthe UN asáa universal multilateral organization and the UN Security Council inámaintaining international peace and security underáthe UN Charter, stimulating global development, asáwell asácreating conditions foráthe prosperity ofáour countries and nations.

As António Guterres UN Secretary-General said ináone ofáhis recent statementጠ"The SCO plays a leading role ináregional diplomacy. It contributes toáthe development ofámultilateral cooperation toásort outáthe most urgent issues ofápeace and security ináEurasia."

The SCO advocates improving architecture ofáglobal economic governance and developing trade, economic and investment cooperation.
We believe it is important toáfurther deepen cooperation forájointly and consistently strengthening an open, inclusive, transparent, non-discriminatory multilateral trade system based onáthe rules ofáthe World Trade Organization, asáwell asápreventing any unilateral protectionist measures ináinternational trade.

2. Mr. Norov, it seems that India is seeking toáexpand interaction betweenáthe continental and maritime arc ofáinternational relations ináGreater Eurasia.
The axis ofácooperation betweenáChennai and Vladivostok is seen asáuniting the efforts ofáRussia and India ináshaping such relations.

India recently became an SCO member state.

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

With India's accession toáthe SCO asáa full member, there are created absolutely new opportunities foráfurther development and deepening ofáfull-scale cooperation betweenámemberጠstates.

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

The role ofáthe SCO asáan important mechanism foráshaping regional and global policy, ensuring security and sustainable development has been strengthened.

We appreciate the efforts ofáthe Indian side toáfurther deepen mutually beneficial cooperation withináthe SCO.

At recent SCO summits ináQingdao and Bishkek, ináwhich India participated asáa full member, Prime Minister Modi made a number ofáimportant proposals aimed atáfurther deepening cooperation ináthe fields ofáregional security, strengthening economic cooperation ináthe sphere ofáagriculture, medicine, IT, space, finance, development ofáalternative energy sources and environmental protection.

I would likeáto note India's active participation ináSCO security mechanisms, including ináthe SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.

We attach great importance toáthe active participation ofáthe Indian side ináantiterrorist exercises.

This year India first time is presiding overáthe SCO's second most important bodyጠthe Council ofáHeads ofáGovernment, whose next meeting will be held ináIndia ináautumn.

This body is the main mechanism responsible foráthe development ofátrade, economic and humanitarian cooperation betweenáthe SCO member states.

The meeting ofáprime ministers will be preceded byámeetings ofáministers ofácommerce, justice, council ofánational coordinators, financial experts, asáwell asáthe first meeting ofáthe Consortium ofáThink Tanks onáeconomic issues which will also be held ináthe Republic ofáIndia.

The Member States highly appreciated the activities carried outáby the Indian side ináthe field ofádisaster management, including the ministerial meeting, rescue operations and special exercises held ináIndia iná2019.

New prospects forátrade and economic cooperation open upáwith the formation of "International NorthጠSouth" Transport Corridor, byáinitiative India and Russia, witháa length ofámore thaná7 thousand kilometres, asáwell asáwith India's accession toáthe Ashgabat agreement onáthe formation ofáa new international transport and transit route.

These projects througháthe infrastructure ofárailways and roads, seaports forátransit and transportation ofágoods will create conditions forásustainable economic development ofáthe participating countries.

This giant transport corridor will connect St. Petersburg witháthe Indian port ofáMumbai.

In the context ofáincreasing the transit potential ofáthe SCO countries withináthe framework ofáChina's Belt and Road initiative, the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project may become one ofáthe promising additional routes connecting East Asia witháthe Middle East, Turkey and Europe, asáwell asáan important link ináthe transport network withináthe framework ofáthe East-West and North-South projects.

The transport and infrastructure projects currently being implemented withináthe framework ofáthe SCO are largely aimed atásolving the fundamental task ofáproviding favorable opportunities foráland-locked countries ofáCentral Asia toáhave access toáthe seaports, including Indian ones and their products toáthe world market.

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

With great interest we follow the approaches ofáIndia and ASEAN States toáthe Indo-Pacific, pay attention toátheir creative, inclusive and non-confrontational nature, multidisciplinary cooperation, connectivity and sustainable development, respect foráinternational law, and openness toáall who want toáwork onáthe basis ofáthese principles.

It seems toáus that the axis ofácooperation betweenáChennai and Vladivostok fits perfectly intoáthe development plans ofáthe Russian Far East.

In future India will also be able toáeffectively take advantage ofáthe Northern Sea Route and facilitate access foráits companies toáresources ofáthe Russian Arctic region.

Such goal-setting is ináline witháthe key principles ofáthe proposed concept ofáthe Greater Eurasian Partnership, ináwhich important platforms forácooperation such asáthe SCO and ASEAN can take their rightful place and, thanks toáestablished partnerships, interact productively ináthe fields ofápolitics, security and economy.

It is only througháour joint efforts we will be able toáunite the vast Eurasian continent's vast maritime and land space,as well asáthe surrounding continents and regions aroundáEurasia.

We see a far-reaching meaning inádeepening interaction betweenáthe think tanks ofáthe 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 asáSCO's specific priorities withásuch diversity ofáparticipants?

Today the Organization has become a real example ofácoexistence ofádiverse states withádifferent cultural and ethnic traditions, asáwell asáthe productive establishment and development ofáinter-civilization dialogue.

Symbolically speaking, our political, economic and humanitarian practice is the contours ofágeostrategic development ináEurasia.

In fact, this is a long-term construction ofáthe Eurasian space, starting fromáits core, which is represented byáCentral Asia, and centrifugally toáits outer perimeter.

The main thing ináSCO's approach is toáensure security and political stability throughoutáthe Eurasian space, based onáwhich economic and social dynamics should be accelerated.

Today, ináthe world, pockets ofáarmed conflict remain aságlobal terrorist breeding grounds.

Terrorist organizations are trying toátake control ofádrug trafficking, using it not only asáa source ofáincome, butáalso toátraffic foreign terrorist fighters.

The global nature ofátoday's challenges and threats takes a special dimension due toárapid development ofáthe information and communication technologies.

In the Internet space and througháthe so-called "darknet", extremist materials are being disseminated, young people are being recruited intoáthe ranks ofáterrorists, and illegal online trafficking ináweapons and drugs.

The Member States emphasise the need toácontinue work onábuilding withináthe SCO ofáa system forámonitoring possible threats ináthe global information space and countering them.

The SCO region is home toámore thaná800 million young people aged 15 toá24 who are most exposed toárisks and threats ináthe information space.

Therefore, it is important foráthe SCO toáwork towardsáthe formation ofáa "healthy digital culture" ináthe SCO region, directing high potential ofáyoung people toáthe right direction, developing intellectual skills, abilities, asáwell asáyouth entrepreneurship ináthe field ofádigital and electronic innovations.

E-commerce is growing ináthe member states ofáthe SCO atáan active pace. China,India and Russia are leading the SCO ináthis area.

Currently, 35á% ofáChina's trade is carried outáthrough e-Commerce. 55% ofáthose employed ináe-Commerce are women. In other words, e-Commerce helps create new jobs, especially foráwomen and young people.

In recent years, Alibaba Group has created more thaná40 million jobs and the company plans toácreate 100 million new jobs byá2036.

At same time according toáthe World Economic Forum, companies aroundáthe world lost about $1.5 trillion iná2018 fromáillegal activities ofácybercriminals, and iná2019 that figure almost reached $2.5 trillion.

That is why our Organization focuses its attention onácooperation ináensuring information security and fighting cybercrime.

To counter that threat, it is important toáexpand the regulatory framework aimed atácombating cybercrime and guaranteeing confidentiality and rights ofáconsumers onáthe Internet.

Given India's great potential ináIT technology, we believe that the Indian side can play a leading role ináthis area ináthe SCO region.

Today, the SCO has become an effective mechanism forámultilateral cooperation inátrade and economic sphere.

Its territory is characterized byáa huge consumer market, highly qualified human resources, rich mineral and energy reserves, asáwell asáadvanced production facilities and technologies.

The total GDP ofáthe SCO member states iná2018 amounted toá22 per cent ofáthe world GDP.

It is expected that iná2030 this indicator may reach 35-40 per cent ofáthe world GDP.

According toáthe Standard Chartered Bank, byá2030 the volume ofáthe top 10 world economies will amount toá190 trillion U.S. dollars, 60% ofáwhich will come fromáChina, India and Russia.

The total foreign trade turnover ofáthe SCO member states witháforeign countries exceeded $6.3 trillion and it is growing. For example, only China plans toáincrease imports ofágoods overáthe next 15 years fromá2 toá30 trillion USD.

Thus, the SCO has real opportunities toábecome one ofáthe world economic centers ináthe nearáfuture.

At the last meeting ofáthe SCO Council ofáHeads ofáGovernment ináTashkent ináNovember 2019, a new Program ofáMultilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation ofáthe Organization's Countries untilá2035 was adopted.

Under the new Programme, ináthe long termጠuntilá2035ጠthe SCO Member States aim toáincrease global competitiveness and ensure the digital transformation ofáthe national economies ofáthe SCO countries througháthe introduction ofádigital technologies and the creation ofáfavourable conditions foráthe gradual free movement ofágoods, capital, services and technologies, asáenvisaged ináthe SCO Charter.

The practical implementation ofáthis strategy, rather thanávirtual design, is carried outáboth throughástrengthening multilateral relations amongámember states and througháthe formation ofápartnerships witháinternational and regional organizationsጠthe UN, EAEC, ASEAN, CIS, asáwell asáthrough interaction withásuch an international association asáBRICS.


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