Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Shanghai Cooperation Organization
   Established in 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization assumed the role played by Shanghai Five, which had been founded in 1996 as an intergovernmental mutual security organization linking Russia, China, and certain Central Asian republics (in 2001, Uzbekistan joined Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan as members of the organization). The original grouping grew out of regional efforts to reduce military tensions on the countries’ respective borders. Over time, the Shanghai grouping broadened its focus to include cooperation on counterterrorism, suppression of separatism and other forms of extremism, interdiction of narcotics trafficking, and regional security. Joint military exercises were initiated in Chelyabinsk in 2007. The following year, the SCO signed an agreement with the Collective Security Treaty Organization to expand cooperation on cross-border security and transnational crime. Future economic cooperation has also been proposed by China, the only member that is not part of the Eurasian Economic Community. Current observers of the organization include India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan; Tehran applied for full membership on 24 March 2008. The group also has relations with Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Belarus. While the United States initially was suspicious of the organization as a counterbalance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Washington saw increasing value in the existence of the SCO after the September 11 attacks.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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