Recently, the fourth edition of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Startup Forum was organised in New Delhi.

Key highlights: 

  • The initiative aims to promote collaboration and innovation among startups from SCO Member States
  • The forum focused on expanding startup interactions, promoting innovation, creating job opportunities, and inspiring young talent within the SCO region.
  • The plenary session saw participation from SCO Member States, including delegations of startups, nodal agencies, senior government officials, and diplomats.
  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) emphasised the role of the startup ecosystem in boosting national economies.
  • A showcase opportunity at the SCO Pavilion was provided, where over 15 SCO startups showed their products and services. The showcase provided networking opportunities designed to inspire, educate, and empower these entrepreneurs.
  • In addition, the delegates also attended a workshop conducted by Startup India on ‘Establishing a Seed Fund: A Strategic Approach to Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship.’


All Member States agreed to create a Special Working Group for Startups and Innovation (SWG) during the SCO Heads of State Summit in 2022. 

  • India proposed this initiative in 2020 to foster collaboration among SCO Member States and accelerate regional economic development. 
  • The SWG, permanently chaired by India, aims to benefit the startup ecosystem and promote innovation within the SCO region.
  • India has previously organised various initiatives for SCO Member States, including SCO Startup Forums, virtual mentorship programs, and workshops aimed at fostering bilateral and multilateral engagement in developing startup ecosystems.
  • India will host the second meeting of the SWG in November 2024 and the SCO Startup Forum 5.0 in January 2025, continuing its efforts to promote startup collaboration and innovation within the SCO.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) 

  • It is a major Eurasian political and security organisation founded in 2001.
  • India gained full membership status in the SCO at the Astana Summit in 2017.

Members:  Nine member countries includeChina, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, with 9th member Iran recently joining in July 2023

  • Other participants: Four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and  “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey etc. ).
  • Significance: Largest regional organisation in the world by geographic area and population (covers about 80% of Eurasia and more than 40% of the global population)

Main Decision-Making Bodies:

  • Council of Heads of State (CHS): The supreme body consisting of member states’ presidents (or Prime Ministers for parliamentary democracies). They meet annually at SCO summits to make major decisions.
  • Council of Heads of Government (CHG): Meets annually to discuss economic cooperation and approve the SCO budget.

Permanent Executive Bodies:

  • SCO Secretariat: The main executive body islocated in Beijing. It handles day-to-day operations, coordination, and provides support for the SCO’s activities.
  • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS): Based in Tashkent, this committee coordinates efforts to counter terrorism, separatism, and extremism among member states.

Objective of SCO 

  • Security: countering terrorism, separatism, extremism
  • Politics & Diplomacy: fostering good neighbourly relations
  • Economy & Trade: Regional economic development
  • Culture & Education: Cultural and educational exchanges

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