SCO Peace Mission Exercise:

For the first time, the militaries of India and Pakistan are taking part in a mega anti-terror drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Russia aimed at expanding cooperation among the member countries to deal with the growing menace of terrorism and extremism.

India is participating in the drill for the first time since becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017. As part of the SCO initiatives, the SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for the SCO member states.

The joint exercise is being conducted by the Central Military Commission of Russia from 22 August to 29 August at Chebarkul, Russia. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international counterinsurgency or counter-terrorism environment under the SCO Charter.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, also known as the Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organization which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Apart from Uzbekistan, the other five countries have been a part of the Shanghai 5 since 1996. The cooperation was renamed to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation after Uzbekistan joined the organization in 2001.

India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members in June 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

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India becomes the Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific Region Of WCO

India has become the Vice-Chair (Regional Head) of the Asia Pacific Region of  World Customs Organisation (WCO) for a period of two years, from July 2018 to June 2020. The WCO has divided its Membership into six Regions. Each of the six Regions is represented by a regionally elected Vice-Chairperson to the WCO Council.

The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.

Today, the WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.

As the global center of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.

The WCO has divided its Membership into six Regions. Each of the six Regions is represented by a regionally elected Vice-Chairperson to the WCO Council.

As a forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between national Customs delegates, the WCO offers its Members a range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services provided either directly by the Secretariat, or with its participation.

Besides the vital role played by the WCO in stimulating the growth of legitimate international trade, its efforts to combat fraudulent activities are also recognized internationally.

WCO has also been responsible for administering the World Trade Organization’s Agreements on Customs Valuation, which provide a system for placing values on imported goods, and the Rules of Origin, which are used to determine the origin of a given commodity.

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OPCW chemical watchdog gains power to assign blame

 

The world‘s foremost chemical weapons watchdog has granted itself new powers to assign blame for attacks, despite protests by Russia.

Until now, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) could only say whether chemical weapons were used – but not who had used them.

Britain successfully argued that new powers were needed to deal with repeated chemical attacks in Syria.

This is an important step forward for arms control. It strengthens the unraveling consensus against the use of chemical weapons. It marks a victory for the rules-based international order, which itself is under increasing strain given the rise of populists and nationalism in many countries.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997.

The organization was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.

The Convention contains four key provisions:

Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW.

Monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging.

Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats.

Fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.

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