Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

About the SCO: It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation of the Eurasian Nations.

  • Its 21st meeting of Council of Heads of State was held on 17 September 2021 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
  • Secretariat- Beijing
  • Official languages– Russian and Chinese.


  • It pursues its internal policy based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit etc.
  • Its external policy is conducted in accordance with the principles of non-alignment, non-targeting any third country, and openness.


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

Origin and evolution:

The SCO’s predecessor-Shanghai Five: A security agreement formed in 1996 between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

SCO: In 2001 in Shanghai, with the addition of Uzbekistan with Shanghai Five members, a new organisation with deeper political and economic cooperation-SCO was formed.

  • the SCO Charter was signed in 2002 and entered into force in 2003.

Its membership has since expanded to eight states, with India and Pakistan joining on 9 June 2017.

  • The SCO has four observer states, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
  • It has six dialogue partners, namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

Organizational Structure:

  • The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
  • The SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organisation’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues. It also approves the organisation’s annual budget.
  • SCO has two permanent bodies
    • Secretariat based in Beijing, China and
    • Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
      • RATS serves to promote cooperation of member states against the terrorism, separatism and extremism.
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