KATHMANDU, Nepal - Nepal is set to be promoted from dialogue partner to observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO, which is one of the largest regional organizations in terms of geography, population, and economy after the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement.
The decision was made on Friday during the meeting of the SCO foreign ministers in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Nepal joined the SCO as a dialogue partner on March 22, 2016, after signing a memorandum of understanding with the SCO Secretariat.
The SCO, whose secretariat is in Beijing, comprises China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. According to news reports, Nepal will be joined by Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Cambodia as observers.
According to officials and experts, the observer role in any regional organization is "toothless." It has "limited scope," but Nepal should do its homework to fully benefit from economic initiatives such as trade and commerce because it is linked to such a large organization.
Because the SCO includes military and security components, Nepal should proceed with caution because being an observer is the first step toward full membership, they added.