Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Q. Explain the structure of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and its relevance for India.



  • GS Prelims, GS Mains paper II
  • International organisations, SCO, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

What is SCO?

  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental Eurasian political, economic and military organisation, which was founded in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistanin the year 2001.


  • With assistance from the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, SCO members have developed an intergovernmental agreement on facilitating international road transport

What is the aim of SCO?

The aim of SCO is to establish cooperation between member nations on:

(i)         strengthen relations among member states;

(ii)       promote cooperation in political affairs, economics and trade, scientific-technical, cultural, and educational spheres as well as in energy, transportation, tourism, and environmental protection;

(iii)      safeguard regional peace, security, and stability; and

(iv)     create a democratic, equitable international political and economic order.


In a nut-shell, the organisation strives for the following:

  • Security-related concerns
  • Resolving border issues
  • Military cooperation
  • Intelligence sharing
  • Countering terrorism
  • Countering American influence in Central Asia

Which are the members of SCO?

The eight permanent members of the SCO are:

  1. China
  2. Kazakhstan
  3. Kyrgyzstan
  4. Russia
  5. Tajikistan
  6. Uzbekistan
  7. India
  8. Pakistan
  • Uzbekistan joined the group later as a permanent member.
  • India and Pakistan are the newest inclusion to the Organisation (joined in 2016) and it added another 1.45 billion people in the SCO making the group cover around 40 per cent of the global population.

What is the importance of SCO for India?

  • Main points: Counterbalance of NATO, combating terrorism, security issues, dominance in regional geopolitics
  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is seen as an eastern counter-balance to NATO.
  • With India being its member, it will allow the country to push effective action in combating terrorism and on issues related to security.
  • With the presence of India and China, the world’s most populous countries, SCO is now the organisation that has the largest population coverage.
  • India’s entry into the group is expected to increase the group’s heft in regional geopolitics and trade negotiations while giving it a pan-Asian hue at the same.

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