The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was established on 15 June 2001 by its six founding members: the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The SCO succeeded the ‘Shanghai Five’ a demi-formal grouping that had been formed in Shanghai on 26 April 1996. After the admittance of Uzbekistan, as a sixth member, the ‘Shanghai Five’ was changed to SCO.

Unlike the ‘Shanghai Five’, which was restricted in its scope to “Deepening of Military Trust in Border Regions”, the Charter of SCO provided a much broader scope of multifaceted cooperation among the members.

The SCO received its first membership expansion when Pakistan and India were admitted as Members at the Astana meeting of SCO Council of Heads of State (CHS) on 9 June 2017. Earlier, Pakistan, India and Iran acquired Observer status at the CHS meeting in Astana on 5 July 2005.

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