April 30, 2019

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers' conclave at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. During the conclave, ways to further boost defence and security cooperation among the member countries were discussed.


  • What is it? The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation. It is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance and has been the primary security pillar of the region.

  • History: It was established in 2001. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.

  • The Heads of State Council (HSC) 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.

    • the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.

  • Membership:
    • Eight member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

    • Four observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.