Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) - UPSC GS-II Notes

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was founded in 1996 by China under the name Shanghai Five. Shanghai Five had five members – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. In the year 2001, Uzbekistan was invited to join the grouping by the Shanghai five. Subsequently, the six founding states signed the declaration and officially, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was born, in the month of June in 2001. SCO holds Group of Heads and Group of Governments summit annually. SCO Summit 2020 of Group of Governments is going to be held in India. Read the article to know more about SCO for the IAS Exam.

What is SCO?

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a Eurasian Economic, Political and Security organization. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formed with the primary objective of military cooperation between its member nations. It works towards intelligence sharing and counter terrorism operations in the Central Asian Region (CAR).


  • Currently, the organisation has eight member nations: Six founding members (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, China) the two new members, India and Pakistan.
  • Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia currently have the observer status. While Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey are the dialogue partners.
  • ASEAN, Turkmenistan, CIS and UN are the guest attendees.
  • The organisation assumes great importance as it comprises of 40% of the World’s population nearly contributing to 20% of the World’s GDP.
  • It is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population.

The Regional Antiterrorism Structure (RATS)

The Regional Antiterrorism Structure (RATS) was established in the year 2004 at the Tashkent Summit. SCO-RATS is a permanent body established to bring about coordination and interaction between member states in ensuring security in the region. The Regional Antiterrorism Structure works on information sharing and joint counter terrorism measures between the member states. Post the Astana summit declaration of 2005, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has emerged as a regional security organization.

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