The city of Varanasi has been nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital during the period 2022-2023 at the 22nd Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
- During the 22nd Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Varanasi was nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital for the period of 2022-23.
- This would promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and other SCO member states.
- Under this framework, various events will be organized in Varanasi in 2022-23.
- These events bring together musicians, authors, scholars, Indologists and artists as well as other invited guests.
- The regulations for the nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021.
- The purpose of this initiative is to promote cooperation between the SCO members in the area of culture and tourism.
- It also highlights India’s ancient civilizational links with SCO members, especially those from Central Asia.
- During the 2019 Bishkek Summit, the President of Uzbekistan suggested the establishment of an annual SCO tradition of nominating a city in the country presiding over the SCO as the SCO tourism and culture capital.
- The objective of this proposal is to realize the tourism potential of cities and promote the cultural and historic heritage of the SCO member states.
- Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh dates back to the 11th century BC.
- It is considered to be the “spiritual capital” of India.
- It hosts some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath.
- It is situated at the left bank of River Ganga in the middle-Ganges valley.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a political, economic and security alliance established in 2001.
- It is headquartered in Beijing.
- Its members are China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
- The SCO is currently the world’s largest regional organisation.