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Shanghai Cooperation Organization Set to Expand

May 26 – The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the six-nation Central Asia security bloc, is to expand in two directions – firstly by admitting Afghanistan as an observer and Turkey as a dialogue partner, and then to possibly develop its remit to include trade and economic partnerships.

The SCO, which presents itself as a counterbalance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was originally founded in 1996, when instability factors and security concerns cast a shadow over Central Asia. Rampant threats of war and terrorism in the region facilitated the growing desire to strengthen reciprocal cooperation and confront challenges through joint efforts, and therefore gave birth to the establishment of the SCO.

The inclusion of Afghanistan and Turkey, plus the intention of adding trade and economics to the bloc have some analysts wondering if it may develop as a type of Central Asian ASEAN, although China has rejected such claims as “premature.”

“The international situation is going through some complex and deep changes and factors of uncertainty and instability are creeping in. Member states are harboring higher expectations for the role of the SCO,” China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping was reported as saying.

The forthcoming SCO summit is to be held in Beijing next month, with Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran both expected to attend along with other heads of state.

Related Reading

The Shanghai Cooperation Organizations Growing Trade Influence

SCO Astana Summit Seeks Further Security and Economic Cooperation

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Meets in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

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4 Responses to Shanghai Cooperation Organization Set to Expand

  1. Girish says:

    India must be given a permanent membership in SCO if it has to gain more teeth as an organization.
    Russia is very keen to provide permanent membership to India which is facing the heat of chinese influence in SCO. Russia egarily want India onboard to make the power balance in SCO.
    As usual (and not a surprise) China is reluctent to make India a permanent member in SCO, just like they are the only in UNSC which doesn;t support India’s canditure to UNSC permament membership.
    China consider Strong India as their bottleneck to the dream of middle kindgom which most powerful economy, largest market, most powerful defence force in Asia.

  2. @Girish – The US also wants in, although they may have to wait and may not get much beyond Observer status despite the money they’ve invested in the region in stabilising Afghanistan. An Indian role may be more welcomed – but probably not by China who seem to want to treat it as ‘their’ club. I’m not sure how long that will last unless they engage more. China’s diplomacy needs to mature somewhat beyond its immediate paranoia to make anything truly useful out of the SCO. – Chris

  3. Girish says:


    The attitude to consider SCO has their “Own club” has started created uneasiness amoung central asian nations who are gradually understanding the decisions being made in SCO are more alligned to Chinese benefits and less to their own.

  4. da says:

    india has its own club..SAARC. why bother with SCO?

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