- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation established in 2001.
- Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
- Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
- There are eight member states in the SCO at present. India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
- In 2021, the decision was made to start the accession process of Iran to the SCO as a full member.
- The Heads of State Council 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 organisation has two permanent bodies —
- the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and
- the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent. RATS serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
Objectives of the SCO
- To strengthen mutual trust among the neighbouring member states.
- To promote effective cooperation in various fields like economy, trade, politics, culture and research and technology.
- To ensure peace, prosperity, security and stability in the region, and
- To establish a democratic, fair and rational international eco-political order.
Why in News?
- Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has approved a decision to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a dialogue partner.
- Dialogue partner status will be a first step within the organisation before granting the kingdom full membership in the mid-term.