The SCO Secretariat maintains close contact with the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), which is actively involved in the SCO's expert and analytical mechanism — the SCO Forum.
ICWA Director General Mr T C A Raghavan sent a letter to SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, which notes that at this unusual time, when the world is struggling with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the exchange of knowledge, experience and analytical expertise as well as closer coordination of efforts are crucial in the fight against the enormous challenges faced by all SCO member states.
"Since India became a full member of the SCO, it has been actively participating in a wide range of its activities. We understand that sincere cooperation at various levels will help us achieve common goals as defined by our political leaders. From the point of view of the Indian "think tank," we present our assessments in several categories. At the political level, we can confidently say that our experience with the SCO as a full member is more than satisfactory. Interaction at the highest political level between India's leader and the leaders of the SCO member states has increased. In security cooperation, we have also seen a trend to strengthen interaction, including the holding of joint military exercises.
At the academic level, we have achieved some tangible results. Regular cooperation between leading think tanks, scientists and experts has been productive in terms of understanding and analysing expectations, experience and our perceptions of each other," said Mr Raghavan.
In addition, Mr Raghavan suggests that the SCO should increase its effort to implement the SCO's trade and economic potential. Cultural and humanitarian cooperation also requires the adoption of measures to simplify mutual travel procedures and procedures for doing business, and to intensify cooperation in tourism and healthcare. The fight against terrorism within the SCO should make a significant contribution to maintaining stability and security in the region and stabilising the situation in Afghanistan.
According to the ICWA, the SCO Forum is an important platform for the exchange of views and dialogue on cooperation within the SCO. In this regard, at present, it is important to conduct various online events with the participation of the analytical institutions of the SCO member states through SCO mechanisms.
The Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) was established in 1943 and is the leading think tank in India. Since 2001 it has been an Institute of National Importance.
On 13 January 2020, during a visit to India, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov delivered a lecture at the ICWA (for more information see: http://rus.sectsco.org/news/20200114/621988.html).
Dr T S A Raghawan is an Indian diplomat who has worked in Singapore, Pakistan, Kuwait, the United Kingdom and Bhutan and has vast experience in Afghanistan and Iran. In 1992, he received a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Currently, he is the General Director of ICWA.