A quick guide to SCO and its military cooperation

International Cooperation
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), after 17 years, has grown into the world's most populous comprehensive regional organization.

CGTNUpdated: June 5, 2018

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), after 17 years, has grown into the world's most populous comprehensive regional organization. It comprises eight member states, namely, India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The SCO now covers three-fifths of Eurasia and covers nearly half of the world's population.

Over the past 17 years, the SCO activities have expanded to include increased military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counterterrorism. There have been a number of SCO joint military exercises focusing on counterterrorism, peacekeeping, as well as large-scale conventional warfare games.

The first bilateral anti-terror exercise conducted by members of the SCO was held in October 2002 on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan. It was the first time China held a cross-border military maneuver with one of its neighbors.

In August 2003, SCO member countries including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan took part in the SCO's first multilateral anti-terror exercise named "Coalition 2003." It is also the first time China participated in multilateral joint military.

Five countries also attended the following Peace Mission series military exercises in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 – once every two years since 2010.

The anti-terrorism drill dubbed "Peace Mission 2007" Exercises in August 2007 is the first time all six then-SCO member countries participated with leaders of SCO member states also in attendance.

China and Russia also teamed up for large-scale military drills in 2005 (Peace Mission 2005), 2009 (Peace Mission 2009), and since 2012 the two countries held joint military exercises at least once every year including sea drills. In 2014's Joint Sea 2014 drill both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the launch ceremony.

The coming military exercise "Peace Mission 2018," will be held in Russia in the latter half of this year and include the SCO's two new members: India and Pakistan.