- Varanasi has been named the first tourism and cultural capital of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for the year 2022-2023 at the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Heads of State in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) on September 16, 2022.
- The Indian delegation at the SCO summit in this historic Uzbek city of Samarkand was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Under the framework of this major cultural outreach program, a number of events will be hosted in Varanasi during 2022-23, for which guests will be invited to participate from SCO Member States. These events are expected to attract Indologists, scholars, authors, musicians and artists, photo journalists, travel bloggers and other invited guest.
- Kwatra said the SCO also decided to set up a special working group on start-ups and innovation at India’s initiative. India would be its permanent chair, he said.
- The summit also decided to give permanent membership of SCO to Belarus and Iran.
- The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Over the years, it has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations. India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.
The first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital : Varanasi
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