Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers' conclave held at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. During this conclave, SCO member countries discussed ways to further boost defence and security cooperation among them in wake of evolving security challenges in the region.
Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO)
- It is permanent intergovernmental international organisation. It is Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance and has been the primary security pillar of the region.
- Its main objective is military cooperation between member states. It is primarily centred on security-related concerns of Central Asian members with main threats being terrorism, separatism and extremism. It also works towards counter-terrorism operations, intelligence-sharing in Central Asia.
- It was established in 2001 and is successor of Shanghai Five mechanism (established in 1996).
- Heads of State Council (HSC): It is SCO’s supreme decision-making body which meets once year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of it.
- SCO’s two permanent bodies are: (i) SCO Secretariat in Beijing and (ii) Executive Committee of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan,
- Membership: SCO has eight member states viz. Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were granted SCO membership in June 2017 (prior to this they were having observer status.
- Four observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
- Dialogue partners of SCO: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Nepal.