Recently, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Minister’s meeting was held in Asthana, Kazakhstan.

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  • During the meeting, a protocol was signed by the Defence Ministers of all SCO Member States.
  • A Joint Communique was issued after the meeting, in which the SCO Defence Ministers agreed, amongst other initiatives, to develop the idea of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, which is rooted in the ancient Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.
  • The Indian Defence Secretary reiterated India’s steadfast commitment towards maintaining peace, stability, and security in the SCO region.
  • zero-tolerance approach needs to be adopted towards terrorism
  • The Indian Defence Secretary mentioned India’s long-standing proposal of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations. 
  • He also highlighted the concept of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)’, proposed by India for the Indo-Pacific.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

  • It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization established on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai (PRC).
  • Founding members of SCO: the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • Its predecessor was the mechanism of the Shanghai Five constituted in 1996 by China.
  • In 2002, the Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was signed at the meeting of the Council of Heads of States in St. Petersburg, which entered into force on September 19, 2003.
  • On 9 June 2017, India and Pakistan were inducted as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. It was the first-ever expansion of the organisation since its formation in 2001.
  • The official languages of the SCO are Russian and Chinese.

The goals of the SCO are:

  • to strengthen mutual trust, friendship and good-neighbourliness between the Member States
  • to encourage effective cooperation between the Member States in such spheres as politics, trade, economy, science and technology, culture, education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.

The Organization has two permanent bodies- 

  • The Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.
  • The SCO Secretariat in Beijing (It coordinates the activity of the SCO and provides informational, analytical, legal, organisational and technical support).
Currently, SCO has the following member and observer countries.
S. No.Member/observerCountry
1.9 Member States ·         the Republic of India,·         the Islamic Republic of Iran,·         the Republic of Kazakhstan,·         the People’s Republic of China,·         the Kyrgyz Republic,·         the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,·         the Russian Federation,·         the Republic of Tajikistan,·         the Republic of Uzbekistan. 
2.3 Observer states ·         the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,·         the Republic of Belarus,·         Mongolia·         In 2022, at the Samarkand SCO Summit, the process of raising the status of the Republic of Belarus within the Organization to the level of a member state has begun.

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