Varanasi Nominated As First Ever SCO Tourism And Cultural Capital
The holy city of Varanasi was nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital during the period 2022-2023 at the 22nd Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday (16 September).
The Indian delegation at the SCO summit in Samarkand was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member Countries," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Friday.
The ministry said that the move also underlines India’s ancient civilisational links with member states of SCO, especially the Central Asian Republics.
"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," the ministry said.
These events are expected to attract Indologists, scholars, authors, musicians and artists, photo journalists, travel bloggers and other invited guests, it added.
According to the ministry, the regulations for nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021 with an objective of promoting cooperation between the SCO member states in the field of culture and tourism.
'Prime Minister Modi thanked all the member states of the SCO for endorsing Varanasi, Kashi as the first ever SCO Tourist and Cultural Capital during the upcoming year 2022-23,' foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a media briefing.
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 became its permanent member in 2017.
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